Local News

Wife: Police officer eager to return to patrol after shooting

Posted December 1, 2010 11:49 a.m. EST
Updated December 1, 2010 5:57 p.m. EST

— Two weeks after he was shot during a traffic stop, Roanoke Rapids police officer John Taylor is recuperating at home and is eager to return to work, his wife said Wednesday.

Taylor was shot five times on Nov. 17 after he stopped a stolen car on Interstate 95, Roanoke Rapids Police Chief Jeff Hinton said. One of the shots hit the officer's bulletproof vest, he said, and Taylor had wounds to neck, abdomen and wrist.

After undergoing several surgeries at Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville, Taylor was released from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day.

"We see a long road ahead but, certainly, a light at the end of the tunnel," Kristen Taylor said during a Wednesday morning news conference about her husband's recovery.

"If it were up to my husband, he would have already returned to work," she said. "He is very focused on his recovery and wishes to return to the job he so dearly loves as soon as he can."

Hinton said there is no timetable for Taylor to return to work.

"After he had been through his surgery at the hospital, he looked really good to me," he said. "The last time I saw him here in Roanoke Rapids, he worried me a lot. I was really concerned about his health."

Investigators say Michael Eugene Edgerton, 38, shot Taylor. Edgerton was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on Nov. 18 after an intense manhunt.

Renee Michelle Phillips, 43, of Southampton, Pa., was arrested a short time later. She has been charged with accessory after the fact of attempted murder, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Pennsylvania authorities also have issued a fugitive warrant for Phillips. She and Edgerton were wanted in Pennsylvania on vehicle theft and parole violation charges when Taylor stopped their car.

Kristen Taylor recalled the day of the shooting.

"I received the call from my law enforcement family that every officer's wife fears," she said.

Three drivers stopped to help Taylor after the shooting, and Hinton said the police department plans to honor them. He didn't identify them Wednesday.

Hinton said the officer's first reaction in the hospital after the shooting was to ask if the gunman had been apprehended.

A benefit concert is scheduled for Dec. 11 in Roanoke Rapids to raise money to help pay for Taylor's medical bills and other expenses.

"Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers. I know they have made all the difference in the world," Kristen Taylor said.