WHITEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A driver opened fire on a North Carolina state trooper during a traffic stop early Wednesday, killing the officer, authorities said. The suspect was arrested after a chase.
Around 12:15 a.m., the trooper stopped the white pickup truck on suspicion of speeding on a highway in rural Columbus County southwest of Whiteville, said Highway Patrol First Sgt. Michael Baker. Baker said the driver shot the trooper as he approached.
“The driver of that vehicle fired several shots, striking the trooper,” Baker told reporters at a briefing Wednesday morning.
The suspect fled and the trooper was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Baker said the driver then headed about 20 miles west (32 kilometers) to Fair Bluff near the South Carolina state line, where authorities pursued him in a chase. The truck became disabled on railroad tracks in the town, and the suspect fled on foot. Authorities said the suspect was arrested around 4 a.m. after an extensive search.
Authorities didn’t immediately release the names of the suspect or trooper.
Condolences for the trooper poured out from a number of law enforcement agencies on social media. Baker said the patrol was asking that people keep the trooper, his family and the entire organization in their prayers.
“We are definitely grieving as a result of our loss,” he said.