18-year-old shot, killed by officers after bus shooting in Charlotte

(Alex Giles | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – An 18-year-old was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting in northeast Charlotte Thursday night after a separate shooting on a CATS bus, according to police.

The incident happened just after 10 p.m. on the 7800 block of North Tryon Street, near University Pointe Boulevard. Officials said one person was shot on a CATS bus. The bus was on Route 11. When officers arrived for that call, they encountered a potential suspect.

“They exited the vehicles and engaged with the suspect and gave him verbal commands. At that point at least two of our officers perceived an imminent threat, an imminent lethal threat. Shot the suspect, who was armed,” CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney said.

Investigators said 18-year-old Rodney Rodriguez Smith shot at officers at least one time. Officers then fired multiple shots at Smith. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No officers were injured.

Smith is no stranger to the law. He has been arrested several times by CMPD. Court documents show Smith was to receive help from a local organization that helps troubled youth.

The initial CATS bus shooting victim went to Carolinas Medical Center with minor injuries. That person is expected to be OK. Detectives believe Smith and the bus victim knew each other and say it was not a random act of violence.

Passengers who travel route 11 were shocked a shooting happened on the bus.

“Whether it’s on CATS bus or anywhere, it needs to cease,” passenger Dennis Williams said. “It needs to stop. We need to learn to love one another and get along.”

Williams tells WBTV he sees riders doing inappropriate stuff on the bus all the time.

“Lots of activity going on on that bus,” Williams said. “Sometimes you feel safe, and sometimes you don’t. You have to be watchful at all times.”

CATS officials told WBTV sheriff deputies sometimes ride the bus for security. They said they will continue to monitor things to determine if more needs to be done.

Officers involved in the shooting have been identified as Officer Michael Bell and Officer Garret Tryon. Both officers will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting.

Bell has been with CMPD since 2009 and Tryon has been with the department since 2013.

“The heroic actions of these officers very likely protected other members of our community from additional harm,” Chief of Police Kerr Putney said. “This is yet another illustration of the commitment of our officers who serve selflessly to keep our community safe.”

Anyone with additional information is asked to call detectives at 704-432-TIPS, or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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