Local News

Trooper Honored For Heroism In Line Of Duty

Posted January 11, 2006

— A state trooper shot five times after a traffic stop on Interstate 95 is being called a hero. On Wednesday, he received special recognition for his distinguished service.

Trooper J. C. Horniak received the Department Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award is North Carolina Crime Control and Public Safety department's highest award for meritorious service or achievement.

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    "I just wanted to thank the people. They made all this stuff possible for me to be here today, so those are the people who need to be thanked," he said.

    In November, Horniak was shot five times when he pulled over a car because of a dangling license tag. Marvin Johnson, the car's driver, was on parole and wanted for murder in Virginia.

    Authorities say Johnson shot Horniak and fled to a motel where he was staying, but fortunately, eyewitnesses to the shooting followed Johnson to the motel and alerted authorities.

    "I'm a hard man. Things don't touch me too much, but when I got up there and saw him up there, it kind of touched me deep," said James Hill, a tractor-trailer driver who helped Horniak at the time of the shooting.

    Johnson was indicted for a murder in Virginia murder and is charged with attempted murder. A woman who was with Johnson, Nichelle Steele, is charged as an accessory.

    Trooper J. A. Woolard and Trooper J. E. Gurganus received the Department Commendation Award. Four citizens -- Richard Spry, Mark Moore, Thurmond Suggs and James Hill -- were honored for the actions on the day of the shooting.

    Related Stories:

  • November 28, 2005:

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

  • November 29, 2005:

    I-95 Same Scene As Fatal Double Shooting Nearly 8 Years Ago

  • November 30, 2005:

    Bulletproof Vests Not Required For Most State Law Officers

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