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The 4 officers killed in North Carolina were tough but kind and loved their jobs, friends say

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The four officers killed in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Monday in the deadliest attack on U.S. law enforcement since 2016 include three members of a fugitive task force and a local police officer who rushed to try to help when the others came under fire.

Friends and co-workers on Tuesday described them as tough but kind — men who loved their jobs and were good at them.

“They’re heroes,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said at a Tuesday news conference. “They’re heroes because they face dangers that most humans should not have to face. And they accept that danger. And not a single one of them backed away from that challenge yesterday.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Joshua Eyer had just been named one of the department’s employees of the month for April.

“Just a few weeks ago I’m shaking his hand congratulating him for being officer of the month in our command center. And that’s because of his work in the community, because of his work getting guns off the street and because of how he responds to his cases and how he treats people,” Police Chief Johnny Jennings said at a news conference on Tuesday.

“As he demonstrated yesterday, he’s the kind of officer you want to respond when you need help. He was rushing in to help a task force officer when he was taken on by gunfire,” Jennings said.

Eyer had served with the department for six years in the North Tryon Division and was a member of the 178th Recruit Class, according to police. He is survived by his wife and 3-year-old son.

In addition to his job with the police, Eyer served in the North Carolina Army National Guard from 2011 to 2023, when he was honorably discharged. He obtained the rank of sergeant first class and deployed overseas twice, according to the Guard. He was a military police soldier for most of his career apart from a period in 2019 when he served as a combat engineer, according to the Guard.

Brandon Mancilla said he served with Eyer in Kuwait in 2020, where Eyer was in charge of some of his missions.

Eyer was tough and strict, but also kind, he said.

“I was a 19-year-old, an immature kid, but I just needed somebody who was going to be patient,” Mancilla said. “The cool thing is he realized that and would show you the right way to do things. … He talked to me almost like a father would talk to a son.”

Thomas Weeks Jr. was a 13-year veteran of the U.S. Marshals Service who had served in the Western District of North Carolina for the last 10 years. On Tuesday, employees of the United States District Court there gathered to remember him.

“I’ll bet there were over 100 people talking about Tommy,” District Judge Bob Conrad said. “The thing that comes to mind with him is not only his competence at what he did, but his demeanor. Everybody remembers him and his smile.”

“He enjoyed his job, and he was good at it,” Conrad added.

Inside the courtroom, Weeks was responsible for security, and would often bring in defendants for a sentencing hearing.

“He would sit behind in a way that didn’t draw attention to himself, but you knew that he was ready should anything go wrong,” Conrad said.

Weeks also worked on the fugitive task force and was helping apprehend a suspect when he was killed on Monday. Conrad said Weeks knew the dangers of his job.

“In many ways, he was a tough guy,” he said. “And he, like the other deputies he worked with, knew that there was no guarantee anytime they went out that they were going to come back.”

Weeks started his Marshals Service career in 2011 in the District of Columbia’s Superior Court, Washington, D.C., according to a news release from the Service. He transferred to Charlotte in 2014. Prior to joining the Marshals, he spent eight years with Customs and Border Protection.

He leaves behind a wife and four children.

William Alden Elliott and Sam Poloche both worked for the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction for fourteen years, starting out as probation and parole officers and later working as part of the Special Operations and Intelligence Unit assigned to the U.S. Marshals Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force.

“They loved their work, and were passionate about their roles in protecting our communities,” Department Secretary Todd Ishee said in a news release. “These officers died as heroes and made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to our state. We remember them, we honor their service, we send our deepest condolences to their families and friends, and we pray for healing for all affected by this tragic incident.”

Emely Poloche, who is married to Sam Poloche’s cousin, called the fallen officer “a loving person, a great dad and a wonderful husband.”

She said he was a Christian man who always tried to do his best. “He was a very special person, dedicated to his family and his job.”

Poloche leaves behind a wife and two children. Elliott and his wife were parents to one child.

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