Flags lowered across NC to remember trooper killed on duty
Posted October 18, 2018 11:38 a.m. EDT
Updated October 18, 2018 12:21 p.m. EDT
Whiteville, N.C. — Flags across the state were lowered to half-staff Thursday morning in memory of Trooper Kevin Conner, the 65th State Highway Patrol officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Conner was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop early Wednesday in Columbus County near the South Carolina line, authorities said.
A visitation will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at South Columbus High School, at 40 Stallion Drive in Tabor City, with a funeral service to follow.
The North Carolina Troopers Association has set up a fund to help Conner’s widow with funeral costs and family needs. Donations can be made by credit card online at www.nctroopers.org, or checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 840, Summerfield, NC 27358.
Conner stopped a white GMC pickup that was speeding on U.S. Highway 701 south of Whiteville. The truck pulled over near the intersection with Sellers Town Road, and when Conner approached the vehicle, someone inside fired multiple shots, hitting Conner in the face and the torso, authorities said.
The shooting was captured on the dashboard camera in his patrol car and on a security camera at a nearby convenience store, Columbus County District Attorney Jon David said.
The gunman, later identified as Raheem Cole Dashanell Davis, fled the scene.
A Good Samaritan happened upon a wounded Conner about an hour later and called 911, David said.
An 11-year veteran of the Highway Patrol assigned to Columbus County and the father of two children, Conner was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Other troopers watched the shooting on Conner's dashcam to identify the suspect vehicle, and they found it in Fair Bluff – about 20 miles away – a short time later, David said. When the pickup stalled on some railroad tracks, Davis jumped out and ran, the prosecutor said, and officers apprehended him about 4 a.m. in some woods near the tracks.
Investigators haven't found the gun used in the shooting.
Davis, 20, of Chadbourn, was charged with first-degree murder and was being held without bond in the Columbus County jail. David said during a Wednesday afternoon court hearing that he hasn't decided whether to seek the death penalty in the case.
"This was cold-blooded, first-degree murder," David said.
Davis, who authorities said was driving a stolen truck when Conner pulled him over, was on probation for a January 2017 conviction for firing a gun at a car in Chadbourn in June 2015, according to state Department of Public Safety records.
Authorities used Conner's handcuffs on Davis during the court hearing.
In 2011, Conner was hailed a hero when he extinguished a car fire while saving a driver involved in a crash in Whiteville.
Highway Patrol troopers and other law enforcement officers accompanied Conner's body in a procession along U.S. 701 Wednesday evening.
Flags at state facilities will remain at half-staff until Sunday evening.