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Police release radio traffic from Raleigh chase, shooting

Officers describe a chase that reached 90 mph and ended with the shooting of a suspected carjacker near the intersection of Lane and Dawson streets.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Police officers chased a stolen taxi through downtown Raleigh Tuesday afternoon at speeds up to 90 mph before the vehicle crashed and the driver was shot, according to radio calls released Wednesday.

Renford Butler, 34, of Durham, was listed in critical condition Wednesday at WakeMed after he was shot twice by police.

Officer J. Bloodworth, who joined the Raleigh Police Department in June 2002, is on paid administrative duty while the State Bureau of Investigation and the department’s Internal Affairs Unit investigate the shooting. Such investigations are routine in officer-involved shootings.

The chase began when cab driver Ahmed Osman was robbed near Dorothea Dix Hospital, police said. Osman wasn't injured, but the robber fled in his taxi.

Since the robbery happened on property owned by North Carolina State University, campus police put out an alert for the cab, which had a No. 30 printed on its side.

An officer directing traffic on Poole Road spotted the cab. The cab tried to elude the officer, and a chase ensued.

Radio calls from officers to the 911 dispatch center describe a chase that sped past Raleigh Country Club on King Charles Road and around the campus of St. Augustine's College at 65 mph as the taxi headed toward downtown. Speeds reached 90 mph along Person Street before the taxi was involved in a wreck near the Governor's Mansion, according to radio traffic.

"The vehicle's in bad shape, but he's still running," one officer reported.

The chase proceeded down Lane Street at 55 mph before the taxi wrecked again near the intersection of Lane and Dawson streets. The carjacker then jumped from the taxi and tried to flee, and he waved a straight razor at officers as they cornered him, police said.

Police ordered the man to drop the razor, and Bloodworth shot him when he refused to comply, police said.

Two officers were injured in a wreck as they responded to the shooting. Officer Lea Marie Younker was driving on Martin Luther King Boulevard en route to the shooting scene with lights and sirens on when a car pulled out in front of her. 

James Edward Clifton, 51, of 3700 Tryon Road in Raleigh, pulled out from Grantland Drive to cross Martin Luther King Boulevard when Younker hit his car.

Both officers in the police cruiser and Clifton and his passenger were taken to WakeMed for evaluation.

Butler has a criminal record that goes back 15 years. His convictions include assault on a woman, resisting an officer and obtaining property by false pretense.