Call Us Surprised: Suspect In NC Police Shooting Had a Long Criminal Record 

J Dennis /
J Dennis /

In the early afternoon hours of Monday, April 29th, gunfire and tragedy erupted at home in East Charlotte, a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina. When the gunshots stopped, three law enforcement officers and the suspect lay dead. Four other officers were wounded, with one succumbing to his injuries a few hours later. 

Members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force went to the residence to execute multiple active warrants against 39-year-old Terry Clark Hughes Jr. According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Hughes was wanted for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and for two counts of fleeing from law enforcement.  

Hughes, armed with a “high-powered rifle,” opened fire on the approaching task force officers, injuring several of them. Additional law enforcement officers arrived at the scene as backup, but the gunfire continued, resulting in more officers being hit.  

Eventually, authorities shot Hughes, who was pronounced dead on the front lawn. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department noted that at least 12 officers from their department discharged their weapons during the incident.  

Following the suspect’s shooting, law enforcement initiated discussions with individuals inside the residence before ultimately using armored vehicles to surround it. The police department stated that two women emerged from the house and were subsequently taken in for questioning. The police department confirmed that no additional suspects or individuals of interest are being sought in connection with the incident, according to investigators.  

At the scene, authorities discovered a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle and a .40-caliber handgun, along with additional magazines and ammunition for the firearms. 

Condolences have been pouring in nationwide, including remarks from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who took the tragedy as an opportunity to call for gun control, and President Joe Biden, who threatened the grieving families with a personal visit later this week. 

After all, it’s North Carolina’s Democratic soft-on-crime policies that led to the tragedy to begin with. Under the state leadership of Governor Roy Cooper and Charlotte’s Democratic mayor Vi Lyes, the city has faced the plague of all liberal-led cities – ever-increasing crime and the refusal of leadership to act on it. 

Hughes is a career criminal with many charges, felony convictions, and several years of jail time on his record. His most recent charges occurred in May 2021, although he was subsequently released on bond for “manufacturing marijuana” and eluding arrest. He did not appear for his hearing after he was released on bond. 

On the surface, these crimes don’t appear to be that serious. But consider the person who committed them and their long history of brushes with the law. 

According to state records, Hughes has a history of felony convictions, which include offenses such as breaking and entering, fleeing from law enforcement, and unlawful possession of a firearm. Additionally, he has faced numerous charges related to drug offenses. 

In 2010, Hughes was sentenced to six months in prison following a conviction for breaking and entering, as reported by the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction, stemming from an incident the previous year. 

In June 2012, he was apprehended for speeding to avoid arrest. Hughes was subsequently convicted of fleeing from law enforcement and unlawful possession of a firearm as a felon in October 2012, serving an 11-month sentence in prison, according to the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction. 

Law enforcement officers involved in the recent tragedy were attempting to serve him with a warrant for his arrest because he had violated his bond agreement in his 2021 cases. 

Charlotte’s soft-on-crime approach has been heavily criticized by many, including police Chief Johnny Jennings. In November of 2022, he spoke out about an unnamed judge’s decision to reduce a $2 million bond to $50,000 for a violent repeat offender. The offender, 29-year-old Octavis Wilson, was accused of several offenses including first-degree kidnapping, second-degree forcible rape, assault on a female, sexual battery, assault with a deadly weapon, and additional charges. 

It wasn’t Wilson’s first brush with the law. In 2021, Wilson was charged with attempted first-degree rape and assault with a deadly weapon. He was released just two weeks later. The pattern was repeated in April 2022, when he was charged with assault to inflict severe injury and released in June of that same year. 

The incident earlier this week was preventable and could have been avoided if a judge had connected Hughes’ past criminal activities and attempts to flee law enforcement with a predictable effort to evade law enforcement again. 

For the families of the slain law enforcement officers, Democrats in office offering condolences is not just disingenuous. It’s blatantly disrespectful.