CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) — A suspect is dead after a shootout involving a North Carolina state trooper during a chase Monday afternoon in Johnston County, officials confirmed.
The incident, which involved a stolen tow truck, happened along U.S. 70 business near Hardee Lane just after 4:35 p.m., officials said.
Clayton officials confirmed the suspect died at the scene.
“He was being pursued for a stolen vehicle, so it hardly seems worth the outcome we have today,” said Clayton Police Chief C. Blair Myhand.
The chase began at 4:23 p.m. along Black Creek Road in Johnston County after local officials contacted the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
“As I was getting ready to leave work I saw, heard sirens and police cars just flying by. Like one after the other,” said witness Carla Cawth.
During the chase, the suspect fired at the trooper, who returned fire, authorities said.
“That’s what it looked like, it had flipped several times. We didn’t hear anything but it looked pretty bad. There was smoke. I saw smoke when I went out there,” said Coco Garcia, who works nearby.
The suspect ran over stop sticks deployed on U.S. 70 by law enforcement – forcing the tow truck to cross into the other lanes of traffic and then plow into a tree.
“At 4:30 in the afternoon on Highway 70, the fact that no cars were hit in this is amazing. It’s just sheer luck,” said Myhand.
It’s unknown if the suspect was shot during the chase.
Authorities from Four Oaks, Smithfield and Clayton were also involved in the chase.
The entire highway was closed for about 35 minutes.
The state trooper was not injured and the motive behind the incident is unknown at this time.
The suspect’s identity has not yet been released.
The SBI will conduct an independent review. The highway patrol will also do an internal review. Both are standard anytime an officer is involved in a shooting.
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