Charlotte, NC (WBTV) - An off duty Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police SWAT officer Fred Thornton was rushed to the hospital Friday afternoon where he died after an accident with equipment used by the SWAT team.
The accident happened around 5:35 p.m. Mint Hill Fire and Rescue responded to a call for service on Tinkerton Court in Mint Hill.
Upon arrival, EMS workers treated officer Thornton for life threatening injuries.
He was transported to Carolinas Medical Center-Main by police escort where he underwent surgery, but died as result of his injuries.
Based on the preliminary investigation, it is believed that Officer Thornton's injuries were the result of a discharge from a distraction device that occurred during the attempt to render his equipment safe.
A distraction device is standard issued equipment to SWAT officers deployed during tactical operations.
Officer Thornton is 28 ½ year veteran of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. He is assigned to the North Tryon Division and a 23 year member of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
Members of CMPD, including Chief Rodney Monroe, have been with Officer Thornton's family at CMC throughout the evening.
An investigation is being conducted by the Mint Hill Police Department with the assistance of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.