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Trooper involved in fatal shooting in Durham

Officials said 31-year-old Willard Eugene Scott, Jr. failed to stop when Mathis turned on sirens and blue lights.

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DURHAM, N.C. — One man has died from injuries he sustained early Sunday morning in a shooting that involved a trooper with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Around 1 a.m., Trooper Jerimy Mathis, a 20-year member of the State Highway Patrol, attempted to stop a 1996 Nissan sedan that was driving erratically on US-501 near Duke Street.

Officials said the driver, 31-year-old Willard Eugene Scott, Jr. failed to stop when Mathis turned on sirens and blue lights.

After a brief pursuit, Scott exited his vehicle and began to run on foot. During the chase, Mathis fired his gun and struck Scott. Scott was transported to Duke Regional Hospital where he later died.

Scott displayed a gun, spokespeople with the Highway Patrol said, but details have not been released on whether or not he pointed it at Mathis.

The scene was cleared by 8 a.m.

An investigation requested by the State Highway Patrol is pending. Mathis has been placed on paid administrative leave as is standard operating procedure in any trooper-involved shooting.

In 2013, Mathis was presented the Hometown Hero Award, which recognizes those who go above and beyond the call of duty to be peacemakers in the community. The award was presented to him after his partner was shot in the line of duty.

Sunday's incident was not Scott's first run in with law enforcement.

Records show Scott was named in a 2008 officer-involved shooting in Durham. Police said he was shot in the leg after pointing a gun at several people and refusing to drop his weapon as officers approached. He was charged with assault on an officer and assault by pointing a gun in connection with that incident.

Scott was previously arrested on Dec. 13 and charged with assault on a government employee and assault on a female.

Any witnesses to Sunday's incident are asked to contact the State Bureau of Investigation at 919-779-8188 during normal business hours and 800-334-3000 after hours.

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