Biden meets with families of officers killed in Charlotte shootout

President Joe Biden is to travel to Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday to meet with the families of law enforcement killed in a shoutout earlier this week. Photo by Ron Sachs/UPI
President Joe Biden is to travel to Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday to meet with the families of law enforcement killed in a shoutout earlier this week. Photo by Ron Sachs/UPI | License Photo

May 2 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Thursday traveled to North Carolina where he met with families of police officers slain and injured in a shootout earlier this week.

The president touched down in Charlotte Douglas International Airport shortly after 1 p.m. before boarding a motorcade along with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Director Ronald Davis of the U.S. Marshals Service and others, that took them to the North Carolina Air National Guard Base at the airport.


There, he met with the families of the officers involved in Monday's shooting in Charlotte.

The meeting was held behind closed doors.

"Every time an officer puts on that shield and walks out that door, a family member wonders whether they're going to get that call until they get home. I'm serious," he said later in the day following the meeting. "The entire nation grieves for these families.


"To the men and women of law enforcement you represent the best of us. And I want to thank you and God bless you all and may he keep you safe."

Four law enforcement officers, including three U.S. Marshals, were killed and four others were wounded Monday in a shootout that erupted in a residential area of Charlotte as they were attempting to serve an arrest warrant.

The suspected gunman, identified as 39-year-old Terry Clark Hughes Jr., was also killed in the firefight.

The slain officers have been identified as Sam Poloche, Alden Elliott, Joshua Eyer and Thomas Weeks Jr.

The visit to Charlotte was added to Biden's scheduled trip to the state following the law enforcements' deaths. Biden had earlier described them in a statement as "heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice."

The president has called for increased funding for law enforcement while simultaneously seeking stricter gun laws as he aims to curb gun violence, which has accounted for more than 5,300 deaths and nearly 10,000 injuries so far this year, according to The Gun Violence Archive.

At about 3:20 p.m., Biden departed upon Air Force One for for Wilmington, where, on arrival, he greet Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo.


At the Wilmington Convention Center, Biden announced a $3 billion commitment to replace toxic lead pipes, which the Environmental Protection Agency will administer. The funding is being made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The White House said the funding will be available to every state and territory to help replace lead pipes that have endangered the safety of drinking water throughout the country.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had earlier in the day told reporters that the investment includes $76 million from the president's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Biden said 9 million lead service lines connect water mains throughout the United States, including some 300,000 in North Carolina alone, posing a threat to Americans' health.

"Until the United States of America deals with this -- God love us -- how can we say we're the leading nation in the world?" he asked the crowd at the convention center. "For God's sake, we're better than this."

"The only way forward is to replace every lead service line that connects Americans to clean water. That's why Kamala and I are setting out to do it and we're getting it done," he said, referring to Vice President Kamala Harris.


The Department of Housing and Urban Development also announced $90 million that will be made available to reduce health hazards in public housing, such as lead-based paint, mold, asbestos and carbon monoxide.

"Beyond replacing lead pipes, these broader investments are helping to expand access to clean drinking water, improve wastewater and sanitation infrastructure, and remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances contamination in water," the White House said.

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