Local News

SBI agent at NC trooper shooting scene knows both sides of the violent act

Posted January 15, 2019 6:09 p.m. EST
Updated January 15, 2019 6:44 p.m. EST

— Former Roanoke Rapids police officer John Taylor vividly remembers the day he was shot during a traffic stop.

“I honestly believed I was going to die on the roadside,” he said of the November 17, 2010 shooting.

But, it's what he doesn't remember so clearly that impresses him most.

“When I was shot, I had heard stories about all the law enforcement agencies that had come out to help, came out to help in the man hunt, came out to give aid in any way they can.”

Now, after a career move and nearly a decade later, SBI Special Agent John Taylor is on the other side of the call. He was one of many law enforcement officers who responded to the shooting of Trooper Daniel Harrell in Wilson County Monday night.

“Last night,” Taylor said in a Tuesday afternoon conversation, “and any other shooting I go to, I get to see and experience what I didn't get to see or experience in 2010 and that's all the different law enforcement agencies, all the different law enforcement officers, rallying behind the officer.”

Taylor now investigates officer-involved shootings for the State Bureau of Investigation.

“The human aspect is, I immediately go back to my own incident, some of the same emotions and feelings come up from that," he said.

Taylor got a call at about 6 p.m. Monday from the SBI Headquarters in Raleigh.

“Sometimes I feel like being in the position I've been in, and the position I'm currently in, I'm able to give some perspective on both sides," Taylor said.

Taylor knows what it's like to feel helpless, lying on the side of the road.

“A lot of times I think people assume I think back to what it's like to be a victim in 2010,” Taylor said thinking about the Monday night shooting of Trooper Harrell. “But what I really focus on is all the good that comes from something like this.”

The “good”, as he calls it, is the strengthening of bonds between law enforcement officers.

“Being able to see all the countless law enforcement officers that were there, trying to find something they could do to help another law enforcement officer out, in any way they can," he said. "That was extremely meaningful, extremely sobering, it was extremely important to me, because that's one thing I wasn't able to witness first hand in my own shooting, and I felt like in some small way I may be able to help out and return the favor.”