Fayetteville police traffic stop leads to shooting
Posted May 1, 2013
Fayetteville, N.C. — 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.
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.