North Carolina trooper killed during traffic stop, suspect in custody.
A North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper was shot and killed early Wednesday while conducting a traffic stop in the southeastern part of the state, according to the Department of Public Safety.
At approximately 12:15 a.m. on Wednesday, October 17, a state trooper stopped a white GMC pickup truck for a speeding violation on US 701 near Sellers Town Rd in Columbus County. The driver of the pickup pulled over onto the shoulder and the trooper made his initial approach. The driver of the pickup then fired several shots, striking the trooper.
After assaulting the trooper, the driver fled the scene, traveling into Fair Bluff. Local police attempted to stop the vehicle and the driver fled, initiating a brief pursuit. The driver of the pickup then fled on foot after his vehicle became disabled while attempting to cross over a railroad crossing. After an extensive search, authorities located the driver and placed him in custody without incident. He was transported to the Columbus County Jail by investigators.
The trooper has been identified as Kevin K. Conner, an 11-year veteran, assigned to Troop B, District 5 (Columbus County). Trooper Conner succumbed to his injuries after being transported to a local hospital.
“The Highway Patrol family is mourning the loss of a hero and will forever be changed by the tragic events that have occurred”, said Colonel Glenn McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. “We ask everyone to please keep Trooper Conner’s family and all who knew him in your thoughts and prayers.”
“We extend our deepest sympathy to Trooper Conner’s family”, said Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “Trooper Conner was killed while protecting and serving his community. We mourn our loss and will continue to support his family. We are grateful for his service and honor the men and women who serve in harm’s way, each and every day.”
The suspect will be identified in a forthcoming release. Charges are pending a further investigation.
In a statement, Governor Roy Cooper said, “The tragic loss of Trooper Kevin Conner of the NC State Highway Patrol weighs heavily on our hearts. We are forever grateful for his devoted service and selfless commitment to protecting the people of North Carolina. Our prayers are with his family and friends and his colleagues in law enforcement.”