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Details Emerge In Explosion That Took SWAT Officer's Life

Details Emerge In Explosion That Took SWAT Officer's Life

The Daily Mail via YellowBrix

February 28, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC – A SWAT officer has died after he was checking a stun grenade in his home when it went off.

Officer Fred Thornton was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery but doctors were unable to save him.

The 50-year-old veteran, who was the longest serving SWAT officer on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg force in North Carolina and had previously helped in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, was just months away from becoming eligible for retirement.

As his body was taken from Carolinas Medical Center officers stood to attention and saluted their colleague, a policeman of 28 years and 23 years on the SWAT team.

The married father of four had returned home from serving a search warrant with his SWAT team late on Friday afternoon and was checking over his weapons, including the stun grenade.

It is then thought to have gone off in his hand, causing massive internal bleeding and was so loud neighbours could hear the blast.

Paramedics were called and the well-liked officer was rushed to hospital to undergo emergency surgery.

According to reports, senior colleagues were at a retirement dinner when they heard the news and promptly left to offer their support.

But despite doctors efforts his blood loss was too great and he later died.

As news of his death spread, dozens of police patrol cars formed a procession with their lights and sirens on in respect.

Police Chief Rodney Monroe said through tears: ‘This is a sad day. It is just one more example of the work we expect from our people and the risk that they’re involved in every day and the risks that all too often costs our members their lives.’

He added that all SWAT officers are issued with the stun grenades, which create a ‘flash-bang’.

They are considered non-lethal weapons, but can cause injuries if held when they explode – similar to a firework.

In 2006, he was among four Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department SWAT officers deployed to the Gulf coast after Hurricane Katrina.

He spent seven weeks in Waveland, Mississippi, providing help with security, transportation and labour for medical teams.

  • Dolphins_fantasy_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Me2_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP Brotha. You will be missed

  • Thinker_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP and condolences to his family...

  • 12235_sq90_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP my Brother, GOD be with you and yours.

  • Monday_march_3_police_blotter_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Airplane_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest In Peace Officer Thornton.

  • Paramedic_ffl__2_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Your brothers have the watch now, RIP Officer Thornton.
    Clearly we can see ...Heroes Behind the Badge

  • Metacchandler_max50


    over 3 years ago


    PCPD2601 Major Bump...
    Rest in Peace Officer Thornton, you have done nothing but good on this earth

  • L_42e184eb37a43bf524c07e7e8b41b840_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Godspeed brother

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    burke824, I guess you know both the policies and procedures of Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD as well as what Officer Thorton was doing when this tragedy occurred. All I can say is that this is a tragedy for his family, friends and co-workers. An investigation will possibly come up with a probable cause for Officer Thorton's death. To speculate with no evidence is presumptious and wrong of you. RIP Officer Thorton.

  • Grad_photo1_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in Peace Brother

  • Hpim0324_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Lieutenantocpd_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Although we should always evaluate and investigate anything that happens like this, now is not the time or the place for someone,(burke824), to speculate on what happened or why. I would have to believe that an officer with this experience was handling the grenade within accepted practices. It could have been a defect in the product or just an unfortunate accident. Regardless, how would you feel if someone that knows absolutely NOTHING about what happened, started to run their mouth where the family can see and be critical of the officer and make it his fault without knowing what happened. I have my equipment with me at all times and it is locked up and away from my family at all times. I am sure he conducted himself using the same safety precautions for his family that I use. Keep your hurtful comments to yourself or at least in a realm that the family cannot see. RIP Brother, God must have needed you all too soon.

  • Eagle-3_max50


    over 3 years ago


    As you departed the bonds of this earth and touched the face of God, know that the service and dedication you had for your department, its fellow officers and the citizens of your community will never be forgotten. May God comfort in this time of sorrow your family, your fellow officers and all those whose lives you have touched.

    I will be brief in stating that burke 824 should be "flagged" until he can learn what this site is for. It is to honor those, not disgrace them.

    RIP Officer Thornton, we’ll take it from here.

  • Esu_patch_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP brother,, my thoughts and prayers with your family and your dept. On another note as someone who does the SWAT thing and has handled bangs on too many occasions to count would love to see some precise info on what happened. That info may save a life down the road,,,,,,

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