Off-duty police officer is killed in North Carolina after witnessing a crime

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — An off-duty police officer was shot and killed in North Carolina after witnessing a crime at a gas station and approaching the two suspects, officials said.

The police sergeant, Philip Dale Nix, was a 23-year veteran of the Greensboro Police Department, according to a Sunday news release from the agency. 

Three men have been arrested in the case, including Jamere Justice Foster, 18, who is charged with first-degree murder and larceny, according to police.

During a news conference Saturday night, Greensboro Police Chief John Thompson didn’t specify what crime Nix witnessed or provide additional details about the events leading up to the shooting.

Police were searching for two men in their 20s and a black Chevrolet Equinox, according a statewide alert by the the Greensboro Police Department. The Blue Alert was sent about two hours after the shooting and canceled roughly two hours later. A Blue Alert is used when a law enforcement officer has been seriously injured, killed or gone missing. 

Thompson said another off-duty Greensboro officer and a paramedic were on the scene when Nix was shot and immediately rendered aid. Nix was pronounced dead at a local medical facility.

“He was a loving husband, father, son and brother,” Thompson said in prepared remarks.

The department didn’t immediately respond to an email Sunday seeking an update on the investigation.

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who also spoke to local media Saturday night, said the department needs time to complete its investigation and bring the suspects to justice.

“Words are inadequate right now,” she said. “There’s really nothing I can say that’s going to give the family or the officers any comfort. What happened today was a senseless act of violence.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, pledging “all available state resources to catch those who killed a Greensboro police officer.” ___ This story corrects the number of years Officer Philip Dale Nix served with Greensboro police based on updated information from the department. He served 23 years.

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