Local News

Authorities Find Handgun Used In State Trooper Shooting

Posted December 1, 2005

— Authorities said Thursday that a handgun found Wednesday afternoon is the weapon used in the shooting of a state trooper.

Trooper J.C. Horniak, 30, was shot three times Monday morning while making a routine traffic stop on Interstate 95.

Authorities said Horniak stopped Marvin Johnson's car near the Cedar Creek Road exit. Investigators said Johnson pulled out a gun and shot Horniak.

It was not immediately known where the gun was found, but investigators said forensic and ballistic tests have matched the handgun with bullet casings found at the crime scene.

Johnson was later captured Monday afternoon and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting serious injury with intent to kill, attempted murder and assault on a government official. Another suspect, Nichelle Steele, was also charged with accessory after the fact in connection with the shooting.

Despite some questions from about the actions of emergency response crews in the critical minutes following the shooting, the Highway Patrol said Thursday it was satisfied with the response.

"I've checked with the local office and we don't have any questions about the response time," said Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin "We're pleased with the service that (Horniak) received when EMS got there."

Cumberland County officials said they aim for a response time of nine minutes from dispatch to when medical workers are at the scene. In Horniak's case, paramedics arrived in seven minutes; the ambulance took 12.

"The key point is that we had a paramedic on the scene less than seven minutes after dispatch providing treatment," said Cape Fear Valley Health System spokesman Clinton Weaver.

Horniak, who was listed in stable condition at Cape Fear Valley Medial Center Thursday evening, is expected to make a full recovery.

The Highway Patrol said Thursday that an account for donations has been established at the State Employee's Credit Union for Horniak and his family. Donations can be made to the John C. and Christi Horniak Fund at any SECU branch location.

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