Raleigh police chief seeks end to gun violence after officer’s shooting
Two days after one of her officers was shot, Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown called Friday for an end to gun violence as she asked the community to support all police officers.
Officer Charles Ainsworth was responding to a report that a car stolen last week at gunpoint was seen in southwest Raleigh on Wednesday night when he was shot several times, including in the neck.
Deck-Brown refused to release any information about Ainsworth’s condition, saying the family wants privacy. But she said everyone is “hopeful for a full recovery.”
“The Raleigh Police Department, we are family, and as you can imagine, with any family that has been struck with such a senseless act of violence, we are heart-struck, we are disturbed, and we too are devastated,” she said. “It’s times like these that test us, so we draw closer to each other, we gather strength from each other, we gather courage from each other.”
Ainsworth was simply working his chosen profession when he was shot, Deck-Brown said, noting all law enforcement officers face the threat of deadly violence every day as they try to protect their communities.
“Our community suffers when anyone in our community is hurt and when anyone in our community is hurt by gun violence,” she said. “Let us make a difference in our community as it relates to gun violence. Let us all partner to make a difference in that regard. This is our city, and these are my police officers – but our community’s police officers as well.”
The department is trying to provide any needed support to the Ainsworth family as officers work through their own sadness and hurt over the shooting, Deck-Brown said.
“All our sworn, our civilian and our volunteer staff will continue to show up each day with the resolve to remain resilient and to do our job to the best of our ability, even when we’re hurting, and we are all hurting,” she said.
Pat Tucker was also hurting Friday for Ainsworth and his family.
Tucker and Ainsworth’s wife are part of the same club no one really wants to join – spouses of law enforcement officers shot in the line of duty.
Tucker’s husband, Wake County Deputy Mark Tucker, was killed by an Apex teen in 2004.
“It does tug my heartstrings. I understand exactly how they feel,” Pat Tucker said, noting news of the shooting brought back a flood of emotions.
Support from other officers helped her and will help the Ainsworth family cope, she said.
“They’re supportive, and they just want to be there to support the family, which is something I appreciated more than anyone knows,” she said.
Matthew Charles Grant is serving a life sentence for Mark Tucker’s murder. The man accused of shooting Ainsworth, Cedric Jamal Kearney, is just beginning his journey through the criminal justice system.
“These two young men have done irrevocable harm to a family of police officers, as well as to the officer himself who was injured,” Pat Tucker said.
As the 15th anniversary of her husband’s death approaches, she said she has only this advice for those who love Officer Ainsworth: “Pray. Pray hard and pray long. Pray. God is an awesome healer, and he hears prayers.”
Police officers have been a regular presence at WakeMed since Ainsworth’s shooting.
Deck-Brown thanked everyone who helped Ainsworth after the shooting and the community for its continued support of police officers.
“The officers that were out there, the EMS workers, the transporters, the medical staff, the community, we are so grateful for all of that,” she said.