CHARLOTTE, NC – A Charlotte Mecklenburg police officer passed away on January 21st after having been discovered unconscious.
Officials believe that there was no foul play associated with the officer’s passing, citing that it appears the death stemmed from some sort of natural cause.
We are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing of one of our own, Officer Nerick Lufungula. Officer Lufungula was found unconscious yesterday afternoon and pronounced deceased a short time later due to what appears to be natural causes. You will be missed, Nerick. #cmpd pic.twitter.com/SsRprsaUEK
— CMPD News (@CMPD) January 22, 2021
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is currently grieving the loss of one of their own, with the deceased officer having been identified as Officer Nerick Lufungula.
In a statement posted to Twitter by CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings, the police chief expressed both the disheartening emotions he’s feeling as well as asking those to keep the friends and family of the deceased in their prayers:
“The passing of Officer Lufungula saddens me to my core. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and fellow officers during this difficult time.”
The passing of Officer Lufungula saddens me to my core. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and fellow officers during this difficult time. #policeofficer #family #cmpd https://t.co/a2QPwYrd1i
— Chief Jennings (@cmpdchief) January 22, 2021
Details regarding Officer Lufungula’s time and efforts/accomplishments within the CMPD have not been released as of this time.
The fallen officer’s brother, Edo, took to Facebook to share both family photos and describe the swirling emotions he’s going through with his brother’s passing:
“Words are not enough to describe my sorrow! Nerick Moise Lufungula aka ′′Mo′′ my baby brother, the Benjamin of the family gone to the beyond, on the tip of his feet! So young…”
To those who knew and loved Officer Lufungula. we at Law Enforcement Today would like to express our heartfelt condolences for this sudden and tragic loss.
Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters? Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you. Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories. Click to check it out.
Earlier in January, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on the passing of a young police officer out of Toledo, Ohio – whose death was allegedly caused by an arson suspect.
Here’s that previous report.
TOLEDO, OH – A 24-year-old Toledo police officer was shot and killed following a multi-hour standoff on January 18th with an alleged arson suspect, which said suspect was also fatally shot by police after the officer was allegedly killed by the suspect.
According to Toledo Police Chief George Kral, the officer killed during the standoff was identified as Officer Brandon Stalker, who joined the force in July of 2018. The deceased suspect was also identified as 27-year-old Christopher Harris.
— Chief George Kral (@gkraltoledo) January 19, 2021
From what officials say, the fatal standoff was preceded by what initially began as an arson investigation, with respect to an incident that transpired at the Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral on the morning of January 18th.
The alleged arson incident, which also involved alleged acts of graffiti, was said to have been committed by Harris. Police say that the Rosary Cathedral was graffitied with spray paint, hosting phrases like “Jesus is black” or simply the word “black” numerous times.
Furthermore, the doors of the cathedral were reportedly doused in a flammable liquid and set on fire. While there was damage to the doors, the interior of the cathedral itself was not damaged.
— Chief Carmen Best (Ret.) (@carmenbest) January 19, 2021
A warrant was secured for the suspect on January 18th for the alleged arson and graffiti of the cathedral, as well as a separate warrant for Harris allegedly spray painting the interiors of his previous apartment on January 8th that he resided in.
Between the two incidents in which the warrants were obtained for, the suspect was facing charges of ethnic intimidation, vandalism, and aggravated arson.
Slightly before 4:00 p.m. on January 18th, police officers had spotted the suspect outside of a residence that was located on the 2200 block of Fulton Street. Once officers began to approach the residence, Harris was said to have turned around the corner – while brandishing a firearm – and ran inside of the home.
Today, our hearts are with the city of Toledo as they deal with the the second gut wrenching line of duty death in six months. Officer Brandon Stalker died protecting the community he loved when he was fired upon by a barricaded suspect. Fly high young man. 💙 pic.twitter.com/5d3ntlGtdy
— Mayor Aaron Montz (@MayorMontz) January 19, 2021
With officers at the scene knowing that the suspect was armed and barricading himself inside of the residence, police established a perimeter and also contacted both negotiators and the city’s SWAT team – which is in line with standard operating procedures when a situation as such develops.
Officials say that police negotiators tried to reason with Harris for roughly 2 hours, but said attempts were not successful. With negotiations having essentially been exhausted, the SWAT team went into effect and fired tear gas into the residence in an effort to force out the suspect.
Following the deployed tear gas, Harris did reportedly walk outside of the residence, but was armed with two firearms and was said to have opened fire in numerous directions.
During the reported flurry of gunfire, one of the rounds allegedly coming from the suspect’s weapon struck Officer Stalker in the head.
Officers on the scene immediately returned fire on Harris, which the suspect was later pronounced deceased upon arrival at the hospital. As for Officer Stalker, he was transported to Mercy-Health St. Vincent Medical Center after being shot, where he too was later pronounced deceased.
The investigation into the incident is still ongoing.
As for the officers who officials say opened fire on the suspect, they all have been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation transpires.
Officer Stalker leaves behind a fiancée and two young children, a 7-year-old daughter and a 3-month-old son who was just born on October 15th of 2020. Chief Kral said at a press conference that the entire police force “is in shock,” over the death of Officer Stalker:
“The entire Toledo Police family is in shock. Another hero has paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting the residents of Toledo. Our hearts are heavy tonight.”
Officer Stalker, who graduated Whitmer high school back in 2015, served as an assistant baseball coach for the high school’s team back in 2020. From the high school’s baseball team’s official Twitter account, condolences were expressed for the passing of Officer Stalker:
“Words cannot express the sadness felt with loss of former Whitmer player and coach Officer Brandon “O.J.” Stalker. Prayers to his family. Rest in peace O.J.”
Words cannot express the sadness felt with loss of former Whitmer player and coach Officer Brandon "O.J." Stalker. Prayers to his family. Rest in peace O.J.
— Whitmer Baseball (@whitmerbasebal1) January 19, 2021
A GoFundMe has been established to help the family that Officer Stalker leaves behind in the wake of his murder.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!