Officer trades gunfire with suspect

by Tori Hamby

A gunfire exchange between a police officer and a home invasion suspect in a Mountain Island neighborhood ended after the officer shot the suspect twice.

Christopher Michael Fortson, 21, and at least three other suspects allegedly tried to break into a house on the 400 block of West Avenue, in the Todd Park neighborhood, on June 27, police reports state. Fortson tried to escape the scene on foot after police officers arrived in response to a pair of 9-1-1 calls.

Officer Joshua Baswell pursued Fortson, who “turned at the officer and fired a handgun at him” and missed, according to a press release from the police department.

That’s when Baswell returned fire, striking the suspect twice. An emergency medical response team transported Fortson to Carolina’s Medical Center where he was rushed into surgery.

Officers will transport Fortson to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department after he is discharged.

The department charged Fortson with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, conspiracy to commit robbery, armed robbery and first-degree burglary.

Officers recovered the handgun from the crime scene. Investigators said they believe the suspect used the gun to fire at Baswell.

Ryan Michael Sumpter, Ryan Christopher Munsey, Irving Alfonso Lopez and Bridget Nicole Bowen were also charged in the incident. Sumpter, Munsey and Lopez face conspiracy, armed robbery and first-degree burglary charges. Bowen faces a conspiracy charge.

Fortson has an extensive rap sheet that goes back to 2007, when he was 16 years old. His convictions include drug and drug paraphernalia possession, giving fictitious information to a police officer and felony larceny of a motor vehicle.

He spent about two months in prison due to the felony charge after his probation was revoked. Fortson attended West Mecklenburg High School, his Facebook page shows.

Baswell is assigned to the Freedom Division of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and has been with the department since January 2010. The department has placed Baswell on administrative leave, per department protocol, while the department’s Internal Affairs Unit completes an investigation to see whether Baswell followed department procedures when firing on the suspect.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department asks anyone with information about the incident to call a homicide unit detective at 704-432-8477.

Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Reply