GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina trooper shot into a car, hitting and wounding the driver who was reversing into the officer, authorities said Wednesday.
Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell told local media outlets that 31-year-old Jeremy Lewis was airlifted to a Charlotte hospital and is expected to recover after the shooting in nearby Gastonia. Bell said Trooper Christopher Wade also was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
Col. Bill Grey, the Highway Patrol's commander, said that "while we are saddened that the driver was injured," he's thankful the trooper wasn't seriously hurt.
A release from the state Department of Public Safety said the trooper stopped Lewis for a traffic violation Tuesday afternoon in Gastonia. Authorities said Wade tried to arrest Lewis after a license plate check showed he was wanted for probation violations, and that's when Lewis "assaulted the trooper with his vehicle."
Local media reports Lewis tried to flee, driving up an embankment and then reversing.
"This incident again reminds us of the dangers our troopers face every day while trying to keep us safe," Grey said.
Lewis' brother, Tamarius Lewis, told WSOC he doesn't understand why the trooper had to open fire.
"Of course I'm going to be upset about it," he told the TV station.
The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating at the Highway Patrol's request. The trooper is on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, which is standard protocol in an officer shooting.
The Highway Patrol and State Bureau of Investigation are divisions of the Department of Public Safety.
The races of the two weren't immediately known.