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Former refugee who escaped war in 1980s films part of Charlotte police shootout from his garage


By Tom George

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    CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (WTVD) — A refugee who fled war-torn Cambodia decades ago and settled in Charlotte was stunned Monday when a barrage of gunfire erupted at the house next to his.

Saing Chheon still remembers having to escape war growing up in Cambodia

“The bomb dropped on the village; we lost my daddy and we just ran out,” he recalls.

Chheon was able to settle in Charlotte as a refugee in the 1980s. Now decades later, he never expected that kind of violence would show up right at his door again.

“I can’t believe it’s right beside my house,” he said.

Chheon spent Tuesday placing flowers on the spot where he saw officers get shot in his own backyard.

He said he had to duck for cover as the suspect nextdoor opened fire on law enforcement serving a warrant on 39-year-old Terry Hughes, Jr. for illegal possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Hughes opened fire shortly after officers arrived at the home.

In video Chheon recorded himself, you can hear multiple rounds of gunfire as officers take position behind parked cars in his garage.

Just beyond that he saw two officers go down.

When the dust settled, four law enforcement officers were dead — Sam Poloche, William Elliot, Joshua Eyer and U.S. Marshal Thomas Weeks Jr. — four more were injured, the suspect was dead and two other people were detained by investigators.

“We’re a resilient profession and a resilient city and we will certainly get through this, but it will take time and it will take support,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said.

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