Local News

Arrests made in Sanford police officer shooting

Posted December 20, 2009 6:36 a.m. EST
Updated December 21, 2009 10:51 a.m. EST

— Authorities have made two arrests in connection with the Sunday morning shooting of a Sanford police officer.

Breon Montrell Black, 21, of 2518 Dalrymple St. in Sanford, and Thomas Harold Mitchell II, 16, of 1800 Marks Road in Cameron, are charged in the shooting of Officer Scott Norton. 

The 33-year-old officer was shot at least five times on Thornwood Drive in the Thornwood Village mobile home park around 12:45 a.m., said Capt. David Smith. Norton and his partner had stopped to question four men in the area, which has seen a recent increase in crime.

"I was watching TV, and before I knew it, I heard shooting," said Alberto Cantu, who lives near the scene. "I came to the door, and a bunch of cars were right there. Then, I see the man lying on the ground right there."

Norton was struck in the lower part of his body by five bullets. He was airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he was in fair condition Monday.

Norton is expected to make a full recovery, Smith said. He credited Norton's bulletproof vest for helping save his life.

Norton is on the Sanford Police Department's SWAT team and has been with the force for 5 years. He is married and has children.

Investigators canvassed the neighborhood and talked with residents throughout Sunday in hopes of getting some leads.

According to the Sanford Herald, there have been two armed muggings in Thornwood Village in the past two weeks. Police said they have increased patrols in the area but declined to comment on specific crimes.

Police and residents said the shooting of an officer raises greater concerns.

"They knew who they were firing at," he said. "They fired at a police officer who can return fire. You don't know what they may do."

"They need to be behind bars. They don't need to be on the streets, that is for sure," Cantu said.

Black and Mitchell were charged with two counts each of attempted first-degree murder and assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle.

Black and Mitchel were being held Sunday in the Lee County Jail. Black's bail was set at $960,000, while Mitchell's was $860,000.

Smith said additional arrests are expected to be made in the shooting.

Black is on probation for a 2007 conviction for possession of drugs with intent to sell, according to state Department of Correction records. He also has convictions for larceny and driving with a revoked license.