Local News

Man, woman sought in shooting of Roanoke Rapids officer

Posted November 17, 2010 2:59 p.m. EST
Updated November 18, 2010 6:13 a.m. EST

— Investigators were searching for a man and woman wanted in connection with the shooting of a Roanoke Rapids police officer during a traffic stop along Interstate 95 South Wednesday afternoon. 

Authorities said the officer pulled over a green 1997 Geo Prism at mile marker 172, just southeast of Roanoke Rapids, at 2:24 p.m. As he started talking with the female passenger, the male driver pulled out a gun and shot the officer four times, then drove away.

Roanoke Rapids Police Chief Jeff Hinton said the officer was taken to Halifax Regional Medical Center, then flown to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville. The officer, whose name was not released, was in critical condition Wednesday night.

Shortly after the shooting, someone reported seeing the suspect vehicle, which had Pennsylvania tags and had been reported stolen, in the parking lot of Halifax Academy, 1400 Three Bridges Road. 

Authorities swarmed the school, which went into lockdown for students and teachers attending after-school programs.

Student Taylor Wright said students were ushered inside the teachers' lounge while officers searched the campus for a gunman.

"Everyone was like, 'The suspect is parked right beside your car,'" Wright said. "He was right beside my car, and I’m freaking out."

Halifax Academy canceled classes for Thursday.

Authorities believe that the man and woman abandoned the school and fled the area on foot. Search teams spent hours combing the woods around the school but did not find them.

Police urged residents in the area to exercise extra caution Wednesday night.  The man and woman are believed to be armed with multiple weapons. 

Police described the man as white, about 6 feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. He was wearing a baseball cap, Carhartt jacket and blue jeans. 

The woman was described as white, with dark, wavy hair. She was wearing a black shirt and blue jeans. 

Anyone who has seen them should call 911. 

I-95 South was closed for more than eight hours after the shooting.