Four police officers were killed and several injured in a shooting in the US state of North Carolina. On Monday afternoon (local time), the police visited a man with a criminal record in the city of Charlotte against whom an arrest warrant had been issued for illegal possession of a firearm, said the responsible police chief, Johnny Jennings, in a press conference on Monday. When they arrived at his house, a man in the front yard opened fire. The police then also fired, fatally shooting the shooter, said Jennings. More shots were fired from the house. Finally, the police managed to secure the building and arrest two people in the house. They are now being questioned.

Eight police officers were shot during the operation, said Jennings. Three succumbed to their injuries at the scene and one later died in hospital. “Today we lost some heroes who were simply committed to keeping our community safe,” Jennings said. “If we put on this uniform, we have no guarantee that we will return home.”

Firearms are readily available and widely circulated in the United States. Attacks with many victims regularly shock the country – for example at schools, supermarkets, nightclubs or at large events. But private arguments, police checks, disputes between criminals and gangs also end in death far more often than in other countries because so many people in the USA carry weapons.