The confrontation began when a doctor called police and asked them to check on Alexander Ehrenburg, a Russian immigrant whose wife was in Poland on a visit, the Charlotte Observer reported. When no one answered at Ehrenburg's home, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers and firefighters went there Tuesday night and broke down the door, retreating when he waved a gun.
A SWAT team was summoned and police attempted to negotiate with Ehrenburg, but he kept hanging up on them. Early Wednesday morning, police opened the door to throw a portable telephone in, and Ehrenburg threatened them with his gun. An officer opened fire, killing him.
Don King, a neighbor, told the newspaper that Ehrenburg was friendly and well-known in the area.
"Alex came from a place where fear of police was pervasive," he said. "To get killed in his own home by police, that's a cruel fate. What a tragedy for everybody -- for Alex and the police."