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ELM CITY — A third-generation state trooper was shot during a Monday afternoon traffic stop, drawing sheriff’s deputies, police and troopers to the scene in a manhunt for the suspect by air and ground that ended with a midnight surrender in the woods.
Trooper Daniel C. Harrell was taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville with serious injuries but was expected to survive the shooting, N.C. Highway Patrol spokesman 1st Sgt. Michael Baker said.
The suspect in Harrell’s shooting is 36-year-old John David Jones of Bailey. Authorities say Jones shot Harrell around 5:15 p.m. during a traffic stop on Haynes Road east of Elm City. Jones was driving a 1990s-model Jeep Cherokee, according to Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Staff Wanda Samuel, who added he ditched the vehicle after wounding the trooper.
Jones was captured around midnight after the N.C. Highway Patrol and Wilson County Sheriff’s Office special response teams found him in a wooded area off Cattail Road near Weaver Road southeast of Elm City.
Samuel said Jones was arrested without incident but was taken to Wilson Medical Center with minor injuries.
The Highway Patrol’s aviation team, State Bureau of Investigation Fugitive Task Force, Greenville police and Wilson County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Bruce assisted with Jones’ capture, Samuel said.
Two other suspects have been charged in connection with the case. Samuel said 40-year-old William Allen Boswell of 5967 Bridgersville Road, Elm City, and 25-year-old Bryan Jeffrey Mullins of 6626 Finch Road, Bailey, are each charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Boswell and Mullins were each booked into the Wilson County Detention Center under a $15,000 secured bond.
Jones was wanted on charges including assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and assault on a law enforcement officer.
The shooting victim is a five-year Highway Patrol veteran assigned to Wilson County who comes from a long line of troopers. Harrell is the son of retired Highway Patrol Sgt. L.C. Harrell and the grandson of retired Trooper T.C. Cherry, according to a Monday night post on the North Carolina Highway Patrol Retirees Association’s Facebook page.
“This needless assault provides another reminder of the perils law enforcement officers face each day,” Col. Glenn McNeill Jr., commander of the Highway Patrol, said in a statement distributed to media outlets. “I would ask everyone to keep Trooper Harrell’s family and our entire organization in their thoughts and prayers.”
Emergency radio traffic indicating a trooper had been shot drew a swift law enforcement response, with troopers, deputies and police officers converging on the scene near Bridgersville Road. Several Highway Patrol cars parked on both sides of the road in front of Knights Trailer Repair. Troopers wearing black protective vests and carrying long guns ran into the fenced yard surrounding the businesses and checked each tractor-trailer cab and trailer with a flashlight.
Jones had previously been arrested during an August traffic stop after sheriff’s deputies identified him as a suspect in a rash of Wilson County thefts.
Investigators recovered more than $20,000 worth of stolen tools, a 2014 Homesteader trailer and a Massey-Ferguson tractor during a search of Jones’ Camp Charles Road home outside Bailey last summer. Wilson County deputies also found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia while executing a search warrant.
Court records show Jones also faces pending drug charges in Nash County.