A police officer in North Carolina was shot and killed late Saturday during what authorities described as a routine traffic stop.
Mooresville Police Department K-9 officer Jordan Harris Sheldon, 32, was shot at about 10 p.m. after stopping a vehicle on West Plaza Drive, police said. Mooresville is about a half hour north of Charlotte.
Sheldon was taken to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries.
“We’re hurt, we’re angry,” said Police Chief Damon Williams during a news conference Sunday, adding that his department was going through a “roller coaster of emotions.”
The suspect, Michael Aldana, 28, fled the scene after the shooting, but was tracked to a nearby apartment building, Mooresville police said. He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after officers entered the person’s home.
Aldana was “known to the department,” but did not have a history of violent crimes, Williams said.
He added that the investigation was active. It was still not clear why Aldana was pulled over and what led to the shooting.
Investigators were also poring over evidence, including bodycam video, Williams added.
Sheldon had been with the department for six years.
“This isn’t just a number for us,” said Mayor Miles Atkins during the news conference Sunday. “This is a real person.”
Sheldon’s family is “distraught,” Williams said.
“They’re our family,” the chief added, “and we want to take care of them.”
Sheldon is the 16th police officer to be fatally shot in the country this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks police deaths.
Mooresville is known as one of the hubs of NASCAR, with many prominent auto racing teams headquartered in the town, including Team Penske, MTJ Motorsports, Kasey Kahne Racing and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports. The now-retired Earnhardt lives in Mooresvile, which is also the location of a museum dedicated to his father.