Politics & Government

Detective injured in shootout

A Durham County sheriff's detective and a drug suspect were shot Wednesday night after gunfire was exchanged during a drug bust. It was the second officer-involved shooting in Durham this week.

Eight detectives were watching two vehicles at the Cracker Barrel restaurant on Hillsborough Road near Interstate 85 at about 7:30 p.m. As deputies approached one of the vehicles, announcing themselves while wearing jackets and bulletproof vests that identified them as deputies, one of the suspects got out of the vehicle and opened fire, sheriff's Lt. Stan Harris said.

"It was textbook what they did, and for some reason the suspect decided not to comply," he said. "We're thankful no one was killed."

Morial S. Whitaker, a 10-year-veteran who works in the gang unit and often assists with narcotics investigations, was shot in the right foot. He was treated at Duke Hospital and released.

Olvin Alexander Aranda Hernandez, 24, of Bungalow Avenue, was also treated and released from the hospital for his gunshot wounds. Harris wouldn't say where or how many times Hernandez was shot. He faces multiple drug and assault charges and is currently in the Durham County Jail. He also has convictions for drug possession, DWI, carrying a concealed weapon and driving with a suspended license.

The two men in the second vehicle were also arrested. Victor Oscar Olguin-Bravo, 21, of Virgie Street and Richanel Sala, 19, of Ross Road both face drug-trafficking charges. Over a pound of cocaine was recovered at the scene, Harris said.

Wednesday's incident comes less than 24 hours after a shooting involving two Durham officers. A Nissan Altima was stopped on Ader Street by officers D.W. Waddell Jr. and N. McGaughey at about 10:40 p.m. Tuesday for a traffic violation when a passenger exited the vehicle and fired several shots at them, police said. The officers, who returned fire, were not injured.

Elliott Josiah Pierce, 26, was shot in the abdomen and leg. Pierce has been charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. His long criminal history includes multiple drug, weapon, larceny and resisting arrest convictions.

The Altima was found abandoned a short distance away. Officers are trying to identify the driver and another passenger in the vehicle. Waddell, a Durham officer since January 2007, and McGaughey, who joined Durham police in January 2006, are currently on administrative leave with pay, which is standard in officer-involved shootings.

The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into both shootings, which is routine. Wednesday's shooting was the first time a Durham County deputy was shot in the line of duty since 1985.

Such incidents are part of the job, Harris said.

"You never can prepare enough," he said. "They do a lot of training, but until it actually happens you really don't know how you're going to react. ... You never say that it can't happen to me in this line of work. Life or death can be at the pull of a trigger."