Local News

Enfield Officer Fatally Shot; 2 Arrested

Posted March 14, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— Two suspects are in custody following the fatal shooting of Enfield police officer Tonya Gillikin early Monday.

Just before noon, after a 12-hour search, the two suspects were arrested when they came out of the woods where they were hiding, and walked across a farm field.

They have been identified as Douglas Elijah Travis, 23, of Roanoke Rapids, and 18-year-old Lawrence Brody of Pleasant Hill. Travis and Brody are being held without bond at the Halifax County jail. They are charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, breaking and entering and larceny.

The death of Sgt. Tonya Gillikin, 30, came as the result of a traffic stop in connection with a Sunday night robbery of a Scotland Neck convenience store.

"When you see a law enforcement officer wearing that uniform, wearing that badge and is no longer breathing, and you look at what you have on and you begin to look at that person and say that could have been me," says Enfield Police Chief Carl Gregory.

More than 300 law enforcement personnel, some from Virginia, and 20 dogs converged on Enfield, scouring the woods for suspects in the shooting of Gillikin.

The shooting occurred about 1 a.m. on 301 South.

Earlier, a convenience store in Scotland Neck, about 15 miles from Enfield, had been robbed.

Gillikin and an Enfield colleague had pulled over a silver Nissan Sentra for a check. Law officers had been alerted to look out for the vehicle in connection with the robbery.

Gillikin was shot in the head as she and the other officer tried to handcuff the driver of the car.

David Crawley, a spokesman for the Enfield Police Department, said the driver opened fire as he was being patted down, killing Gillikin. He then jumped back in the car and sped away as the other officer fired several shots into the car. Crawley said he didn't know if Gillikin fired her weapon.

Officers discovered a North Carolina driver's license that had been dropped at the scene belonging to Travis.

Also found at the scene was a broken pager and a dollar bill, which may have come from the Scotland Neck robbery.

Sheriff Jeff Frazier said a black ski mask, often called a toboggan, was also found in the car.

The Nissan later was found about 5 miles from the shooting and several hundred yards from I-95, its back window shot out and at least three bullet holes in the car body.

Authorities say Travis also has theft and drug charges pending in Halifax County. Brody apparently has no criminal record.

Enfield is in southern Halifax County, about 20 miles north of Rocky Mount. It is also 6 miles east of the I-95 corridor.

Gillikin joined the Enfield Police Department in 1996.