Local News

State Trooper In Critical, But Stable Condition After I-95 Shooting

Posted November 28, 2005

— A state Highway Patrol trooper was listed in critical but stable condition Monday after being shot during a traffic stop in Cumberland County, a patrol spokesman said.

Trooper J.C. Horniak, 30, underwent surgery at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center after he was shot at least three times in the upper torso and in the leg, Lt. Everett Clendenin said.

The suspect, Marvin Bell Johnson, 40, of Richmond, Va., was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting serious injury with intent to kill, attempted murder and assault on a government official.

Horniak, nearly a six-year veteran, was wearing a bulletproof vest, authorities said, when he stopped a vehicle in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 near the Cedar Creek Road exit at about 10:15 a.m.

"We believe that's why he survived the shooting," Clendenin said.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said Horniak attempted to stop a green-colored Oldsmobile near the Highway 24 overpass after noticing the license tag was halfway attached and in danger of falling off the vehicle. As Horniak approached Johnson, shots were fired, the sheriff's office said.

Investigators said Johnson pulled out the gun while he was supposed to be getting his driver's license out of his car's trunk.

After the shooting, Horniak was able to call for assistance from his patrol car and provide a description of the suspect and the car to local authorities, investigators said.

Johnson was arrested at about 11:15 a.m. after he went inside a Super 8 Motel on Cedar Creek Road. Authorities said he served time in prison for second-degree murder, was on parole and had a warrant out for violating the parole.

A woman, Nichelle Steele, 21, of Gardin, S.C., also faces charges of being an accessory to attempted murder, the sheriff's office said.

More than 100 armed officers, including the Highway Patrol, Fayetteville Police Department and State Bureau of Investigation, are involved in the investigation

Detectives said both Johnson and Steele were being uncooperative. Investigators are asking that anyone who may have been a witness to the shooting or have information about it to contact the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office at (910) 323-1500 or the SBI at (910) 486-1262.


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