Local News

Roanoke Rapids officer: 'I thought I would die'

Posted February 14, 2011

— A Roanoke Rapids police officer who was shot during a traffic stop Nov. 17 said he feels like he has been given a gift – a second chance at life. 

Officer John Taylor was shot five times after he stopped a stolen car on Interstate 95. One of the shots hit the officer's bulletproof vest, he said, and Taylor had wounds to neck, abdomen and wrist. He radioed for help as he fell to the ground. 

"I am choking on the blood. I am losing a lot of blood through my neck and I thought I would die,” Taylor said on Monday, speaking for the first time about the incident. “The very first thing I thought about was my wife and son and actually I got a little mad at myself thinking, 'I can't die on my son.' He was only 15 months (old) at the time and I wanted to be there to watch him grow up.”

Taylor credits four people with saving his life that night – two drivers along I-95 who saw him get shot and stopped to help and two paramedic friends who heard his call on the radio and showed up minutes later. 

"I asked them not to let me die and they didn't. Those four people more than any others, in my opinion, were the true heroes that day," Taylor said. 

After undergoing several surgeries at Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville, Taylor was released from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day and recuperated at home through the holidays. He returned to work at the end of January. 

Taylor was assigned to light duty and is doing mostly desk work.

"There is still a good deal of swelling on the top of my wrist. The range of motion is limited. It's come a long ways," he said. 

One of Taylor's most serious injuries was from a bullet that went under his bulletproof vest. 

"It sliced through both intestines before it turned up," he said. "It still rests sitting between my heart and my spine." 

Roanoke Rapids officer relives shooting Roanoke Rapids officer relives shooting

Investigators say Michael Eugene Edgerton, 38, shot Taylor. Edgerton was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on Nov. 18 after an intense manhunt.

Renee Michelle Phillips, 43, of Southampton, Pa., was arrested a short time later. She has been charged with accessory after the fact of attempted murder, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Phillips was in the Halifax County jail Monday under an $800,000 bond.

Phillips and Edgerton were wanted in Pennsylvania on vehicle theft and parole violation charges when Taylor stopped the car they were driving. 


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  • tigerrich Feb 15, 2011

    The reason i am not going to make a comment is because i don't have freedom of speech and i thought we did but we don't.I am just glad some people in nc like building more and more adult daycare centers.Because if was in office some heads would roll.

  • maduda Feb 15, 2011

    I'm glad to see that Officer Taylor is recovering. As a former LEO, I identify with only a small part of what he went through. The fact that he's alive and back to work so soon is a testament to the fact that there are still Good Samaritans out there (the motorists and EMS friends) and to the care he received from PCMH. Officer Taylor, thank you for what you do and I'm glad you are still with us.

  • imdicktrickle Feb 14, 2011

    This guy is a hero and an inspiration to us all! This is such a great story. I hope that he will come through this okay. Great job on this story.

  • bombayrunner Feb 14, 2011

    Just saw this officer on TV ... bad to the bone.

  • PCguy Feb 14, 2011

    Sometimes even heroes need heroes. Glad you're safe, and I hope you're healing well!

  • MitziGaynor Feb 14, 2011

    He is one lucky guy.

  • MECU0905 Feb 14, 2011

    I am so glad to hear the follow up story and that the officer is recovering.

  • RB-1 Feb 14, 2011

    Am blessed this turned out the way it did.

    God bless him, always and all ways.

  • fugitive guy Feb 14, 2011

    Edgerton looked like the face of evil. Glad the officer continues to recover. Those guys don't get paid enough.

  • Just the facts mam Feb 14, 2011

    Glad the officer will apparently be OK. And Thanks to WRAL for running this follow up story.