In Charlotte, a City Mourns Its Officers, and Asks What Went Wrong

As a corrections officer in North Carolina, Sam Poloche had long found being out in the field much more rewarding than working at a desk. So, in 2013, he eagerly joined a task force led by the U.S. Marshals Service, assisting in serving warrants across the western part of the state.

“It was just something he loved,” his wife, Cielo Poloche, said. “He did his job, came home to us, and that was it.”

On Monday afternoon, a deputy greeted Ms. Poloche at her home, bearing the news that her husband, a slightly reserved man who loved his two sons, had been shot while serving a warrant in Charlotte. By the time she arrived at the hospital, her husband had died.

Officer Poloche and three other members of the task force had been fatally shot while serving a warrant on a man who used a powerful AR-15-style rifle to fire waves of rounds at them from the second floor of a house.

“I’m still trying to process it all,” Ms. Poloche said on Tuesday, her voice breaking.

The killing of the four officers in a usually quiet eastern neighborhood, where a running gun battle left people scrambling for cover inside their homes, stunned residents and brought anguish across the city.

And as investigators started reviewing body camera footage and other evidence on Tuesday, officials and residents began to question how the serving of the search warrant, a common but highly charged task for officers, had turned into one of the deadliest moments in recent years for American law enforcement personnel.

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