Local News

Fayetteville police traffic stop leads to shooting

Posted May 1, 2013

— Two Fayetteville police officers are on administrative duty after a passenger was injured in a morning shooting at a traffic stop.

Authorities said Wednesday afternoon that officer Denton Little was responding to a request for backup on Sourwood Drive near Lakecrest Drive when the passenger of the car, Lawrence Edward Graham III, 20, led Little on a foot chase and showed a handgun.

Little fired two shots, striking Graham twice in the back. Investigators recovered a stolen weapon near where he collapsed.

Police said officer Phillip Burlingame stopped the car, a tan Toyota Corolla, around 8:05 a.m. for a possible window-tint violation and called for reinforcement because Graham and the driver, Antoine Morrell Willis, were acting suspicious.

Graham jumped from the car, according to authorities, while Burlingame got involved in a physical struggle with Willis while frisking him.

Police said Graham was taken for surgery to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition Wednesday afternoon.

Man shot during Fayetteville traffic stop Man shot during Fayetteville traffic stop

His grandmother, Rhonda Phillips said he was shot three times, not two – once in the kidney, one in the stomach and once in the spine – and is expected to survive.

Phillips said she questions how much of a threat Graham was to police if he was shot in the back.

Police said charges are pending against Graham.

Willis, 24, wasn't injured. He was arrested on several charges: possession with intent to sell/deliver MDMA, possession with intent to sell/deliver marijuana, felony maintaining a vehicle (narcotics), resisting, delaying obstructing a law enforcement officer and driving with a suspended driver's license.

The State Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation, which is standard in officer-involved shootings, and the Fayetteville Police Department is conducting an internal investigation.

Little, 26, has been with the Fayetteville Police Department since July. Burlingame, 27, has been with the department since June 2008.


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  • thepeopleschamp May 2, 2013

    "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. I'm just saying that when you look at some of the headlines in the "Fayetteville News" section, seems questionable window tinting would be quite a ways down on the list of reasons to stop someone." kornfan2448

    The Oklahoma City Bomber McVeigh was found because of expired license plate. The serial killer caught in Wake Co a few years ago was found due to a moving violation. Obviously the police found more here than just a window tint violation. Get it? They are doing actual police work.

  • Viewer May 2, 2013

    "I don't know about where your stomach is welfarequeen but mine is in the front of my body...... ECH"

    Until the final "report/debate" is made available you may be right; but a police bullet is capable of entering from the back and reaching the stomach. No matter which way he was moving a guy running with a gun in his hand is still a very dangerous person.

  • kornfan2448 May 2, 2013

    "Sure seems like they found them."

    Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. I'm just saying that when you look at some of the headlines in the "Fayetteville News" section, seems questionable window tinting would be quite a ways down on the list of reasons to stop someone.

  • ICTrue May 2, 2013

    "What gun laws worked here? Did any?"

    A background check would have made these guys think twice...I am sure of it.

  • doechips May 2, 2013

    Ok for starters, the guy got out the car. 2. he is in contempt and now evading arrest so a cop who is pulling them over for a simple violation now is giving chase 3. he shows "whatever" while running away and the cop now is fearing for his life because he doesn't know if he is running into a trap

    4. Seems like the cop is put on administrative leave for doing cop work. Only in America can you be scrutinized for doing your job

  • didisaythat May 2, 2013

    You sleep under the blanket of safety we provide at night and then question the manner we provide that safety. I would rather you just say thank you. Other wise I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand at a post. I don't really care what you think you are entitled to. Paraphrasing of course..but still a great line when I see so many people question the police arresting two obvious criminals.

  • pelosi-rulz May 2, 2013

    What gun laws worked here? Did any?

  • goode88 May 2, 2013

    "Stopped for a "possible window-tint violation"? At least they're looking for real crimes down there in Fayetteville."

    Sure seems like they found them.

  • goode88 May 2, 2013

    How much of a threat could they have been while they carrying a stolen weapon and a cache illegal drugs. Nope no harmful intentions there.

  • wizakid May 2, 2013

    Don't pull a gun and you won't get shot. Simple as that.