Police: 2 dead, 3 hurt, including 2 officers, in shootout

Gaston County Police released more details Monday following a shootout with a gunman who killed his neighbor, identified as a retired police officer.

Officers were called to Balsam Court in Gastonia Saturday night around 9:00 p.m. A 911 caller said his step dad had been shot and the suspect was still in the home. Neighbors also called 911 after hearing gunshots. 

The caller said to the operator, "He just killed my daddy, he just killed my dad." You hear the caller begin to whisper, "I don't know," as the operator asks who just killed your dad? Then the call drops.

The gunman, Jeffrey Clyde Wilkes, fired at responding officers with a rifle. He was also carrying a pistol. Wilkes was killed by police. Officer T.M. Leopard and Officer C.M. Belli were injured in the shooting, according to police.

Authorities identified the male victim as retired Gaston County Police officer Charles Dean Thompson. Thompson was hired by Gaston County Police on August 8, 1990. He served as a police officer until his retirement on August 31, 1995. Wilkes also shot and wounded his wife Debra Maness Childress. Police say she was found at a neighbors home after being shot and was taken to Caromont Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

"There's been a shooting, there's a guy shooting outside, he's shot me in the arm," a female caller told the operator. "He's in the front yard shooting," she said. Then she whispers to the operator he's inside.

The operator later reconnects with the caller who identified himself as the stepson. The operator asks, "You said you heard him in your house earlier when you called. Did you hear him leave?'" The caller told the operator he heard the gunman leave then he came back inside and started shooting up the house again. "He never came upstairs, he went downstairs seen him dead and said, 'I got you, didn't I?' And he died," the caller said.

Officer Leopard and Belli were taken to Caromont Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Both officers have been released from the hospital.

Independent investigations by state officials and Gaston County Police are ongoing involving the murder of Thompson and attempted murder of Childress.

The five officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Associated Press contributed to this story.

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