CMPD Officers Cleared In Chase That Ended In Shooting In Catawba County

UPDATE: The CMPD officers involved in a shooting in Catawba County have been cleared of any wrongdoing.  District Attorney David Learner said the officers were justified in shooting 29-year-old Rodolfo Joel Ulloa-Paz on August 10th after a 40-mile chase out of Mecklenburg County.

Learner said when CMPD officers tried to arrest Ulloa-Paz that he pointed a firearm at the officers.  Body cameras played a role in the decision by Learner.  Ulloa-Paz survived the shooting.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — CMPD has released the names of all parties involved in Wednesday’s shooting.

The officers have been identified as Sergeant Jason Dority, with CMPD since August 2000, Officer Ronald Elfrard, with CMPD since January 2016, and Officer Robert Preston, with CMPD since January 2008.

All have been placed on paid Administrative Leave, which is standard procedure for any officer involved shooting.

The suspects have been identified as Rodolfo Ulloa-Paz, 28, Alan Chavez-Cruz, 22, and Erick Lopez, 19.

Officials say Ulloa-Paz was the suspect shot by officers when he made movements with a weapon that threatened the officers safety. He is still listed as critical condition at CMC. Investigators say he will be charged with two counts of Attempted Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, Discharging a Firearm into an Occupied Conveyance in Operation, two counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, Conspiracy to Commit Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Felony Flee to Elude upon his release. Chavez-Cruz was taken into custody and charged with the same.

Police say Lopez was in the original suspect vehicle before the pursuit, and was not involved in the pursuit. He is being charged with Possession of Weapon of Mass Destruction.

CATAWBA COUNTY, NC – The chase ended at Buffalo Shoals Road and Highway 16 in Catawba County.

“I didn’t know what to think,” says Mack Hicks.

Hicks was overwhelmed by the sight of the Chevy truck – carjacked from Charlotte – and crashed into a pole – after a chase that spanned four counties Wednesday morning.

The road was lined with shell casings.

Police shot and injured one suspect after they say he got out of the truck and pointed a gun toward them. The other guy surrendered peacefully.

“We don’t, we don’t see much of this right in here,” Hicks says.

It all began though 40 miles away in East Charlotte. Police were looking for two men in a red truck suspected in several overnight shootings. Police believe they ditched the truck near Brook Canyon Drive and East W.T. Harris Boulevard.

A neighbor shared cell video with WCCB that shows the truck burning.

Investigators say the pair shot and injured two people in an unsuccessful carjacking, before stealing the truck they crashed in Catawba County.

“Left field, right field, infield, outfield, all the fields were at play today,” says CMPD Chief Kerr Putney.

Putney says all the twists and turns made for a complicated and difficult day.

“Our CMPD officers did heroic work today. I believe because of their work, they probably prevented the public from having greater harm,” he says.
The suspect who was injured was shot multiple times. He was taken to Catawba Regional Medical Center. Three CMPD officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.