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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.

  • Img_20111016_163737_max50


    over 3 years ago


    well, not surprise the concussion could kill someone, The military uses Thermobaric bombs which use a blast wave of air to destroy things. Litterally crushes the insides of living things

  • Athens_2007_242_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP Brother...May GOD be with those he left behind

  • Policelinkbadge_max160_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP, Brother.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest In Peace Officer Thornton.

  • Swat_pictures_031_max50


    over 3 years ago


    There is only one person who knows what happened to cause the Flash Bang to deploy, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this 23 year SWAT Operator wasn't " Playing with his toys". There are several potential causes. A likely one would be that like many Operators his Flash Bang was hanging from his vest due to them being on a call out. It is possible that while he was stowing his equipment, which by the way probably was in his vehicle trunk, the Flash Bang was inadvertently knocked loose from his vest which depending on how he had it secured could have easily caused the pin to be pulled without him realizing it. It is possible that he then picked it up not realizing the pin had pulled. I doubt very seriously that he was just sitting there pulling the pin to see how long it would take to go bang. This is a true tragic event. A true accident. We should be kinder to his memory than to knock him down for an accident. I think his 28 years of service and 23 years as a SWAT Member are deserving of nothing but respect. It saddens me to see a fellow "Cop" to bash a Brother thats lost his life. Borderline shameful.

  • Cpu_2010_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Burke824 Not necessary comment. Apparently you dont know the difference between a Flast bang grenade and a regular one. No there not round. Any way RIP to the officer and prayers to all the families involved. Sad no matter how it happened. Apparently it was a good thing he was checking his gear as I am sure he is supposed to do after each call out.

  • P6270409_max50


    over 3 years ago


    "Checking his weapons"? He brings grenades home with him? And he has 4 children in the house? What wad he checking, the see if the grenade was still round? You'd figure with 28 yrs on he'd be over playing with his "toys". Tragic but avoidable loss. Lucky he only killed himself and not half his family as well.

  • 1911a1_max50


    over 3 years ago


    What a heart goes out to the family of this exceptional officer...This officer is a great example of our Law enforcement officers. May he R.I.P. God Bless this family and be with them in their time of grief .

  • 1979_max50


    over 3 years ago


    As I said before, RIP my brother and my God Bless and keep your family and many friends during this tragic time.

  • 179509_413913675314782_526027874_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    What a heart goes out to the family of this exceptional officer...This officer is a great example of our Law enforcement officers. May he R.I.P. God Bless this family and be with them in their time of grief .

  • Img_0295_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Cot_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP Officer Thornton

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