A North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper remained hospitalized with serious injuries Tuesday after being shot during a traffic stop Monday afternoon in Wilson County in eastern North Carolina.
The trooper was identified as D. C. Harrell, a five-year veterans assigned to Wilson County, according to a press release from the North Carolina Department of Safety.
He was taken to a hospital “with serious but non-life threatening injuries,” said the release.
Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks released a statement Tuesday, lauding Harrell. “I spoke with Trooper Harrell last night and appreciate his service, his bravery and his dedication,” said the release from Hooks.
Harrell is a third generation state trooper, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol Retiree’s Association. “Daniel is the son of retired Sergeant L. C. Harrell and the grandson of retired Trooper T. C. Cherry,” the association said in a Facebook post.
In the Monday night post, the association wrote, “He is stable at this time at the hospital in Greenville. He received a head wound but there is early evidence that the bullet may have struck the windshield first.”
”He was born into the Highway Patrol family,” NCHP commander Col. Glenn McNeill told WRAL. “What took place the other night will demonstrate and show that our trooper is a hero (who) when faced with difficult odds, he relied on his training and did a phenomenal job working through what was a horrible incident.”
Three suspects have been arrested, WSOC reported Tuesday morning.
WITN identified the prime suspect in the shooting as John Jones, 36, and reported he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury or assault on a law enforcement officer. Jones was arrested around 12 a.m. “in a wooded area” and was hospitalized with minor injuries, reported WTVD.
Jones appeared in court Tuesday morning, the Wilson Times reports. He is being held under a $1 million bond, according to the newspaper.
WRAL identified the other two suspects as William Allen Boswell and Bryan Jeffrey Mullins, who are charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.
“This needless assault provides another reminder of the perils law enforcement officers face each day,” said a statement released by Col. Glenn McNeill Jr, commander of the State Highway Patrol. “I would ask everyone to keep Trooper Harrell’s family and our entire organization in their thoughts and prayers.”
WTVD is reporting the trooper’s wounds were to “the neck and face.”
The shooting occurred near the intersection of Hanes and Beauvue roads, WTVD reported. That intersection is located southeast of Elm City and northeast of Wilson.
Multiple local and state agencies were involved in the search for the shooting suspect, said a release from the highway patrol.
The trooper’s patrol vehicle was spotted at the scene around 7 p.m., and “appeared to have 12 bullet holes in the windshield and major front-end damage,” according to WNCT.
Anyone with information should contact the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office at 252-237-2118.