Charlotte police officer found shot to death; CMPD says it was self-inflicted

An officer died Monday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound near Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.

Brent Simpson was a K-9 officer who had worked at CMPD since 2006, according to the department. Before that, he served in the Navy as an operation specialist with the Military Police, according to CMPD.

Police Chief Johnny Jennings called it a “very sad” day for his department at a press conference. He stressed the importance of talking about mental health. He asked for respect for the officer’s family.

“Very sad day for our department which also stresses the fact of the importance that we talk about every day, when it comes to the mental health of our officers and the fact that they see and do things that normal people don’t see and do,” Jennings said. “And that takes its toll.”

Jennings did not take questions. Police also asked media not to do live shots at the scene.

Simpson was on break off Steele Creek Road when his “e-button” was hit, according to dispatch radio traffic. Police found him at the Steele Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery, according to the radio communication.

Dozens of police cars were racing to the 7300 block of Steele Creek Road shortly after noon. That area is about a half-mile south of the airport.

“Please steer clear of the area and expect road closures and significant travel delays,” a social media post from police around 1 p.m. said.

This is the second tragedy in the past few months for Charlotte law enforcement.

In late April, four law enforcement officers were killed and four others injured in a mass shooting in east Charlotte.

The suspect, Terry Clark Hughes Jr., also died in that shooting. An investigation into that shooting continues.