Trooper shoots armed suspect near Princeton, officials say

Johnston County News
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PRINCETON, N.C. (WNCN) – A Highway Patrolman shot an armed suspect during a traffic stop on Highway 70 Thursday afternoon in Johnston County, the agency said. 

Around 1 p.m., Sgt. J. M. Dorsey stopped a Nissan from traveling at 96 mph in a 55 mph zone on Highway 70 near Edwards Road, the Highway Patrol said. 

“It was simply a speed enforcement investigation. I don’t think the trooper had other reason than the fact that he was driving at such a high rate of speed,” said Highway Patrol spokesperson Sgt. Michael Baker.

The driver of the Nissan was identified as 20-year-old Darius Jayquan Rogers, of Clayton.

Baker said there was not a chase and that Rogers stopped right away.

An “altercation ensued” between the Dorsey and Rogers. However, Baker said he could not go into detail about what exactly caused the traffic stop to escalate.

Rogers was armed with a handgun, the Highway Patrol said. 

Dorsey shot him during the altercation.

“Authorities on scene immediately began life-saving procedures until emergency medical staff arrived,” the Highway Patrol said. 

Rogers suffered serious injuries. Dorsey was not injured. 

Rogers is based in Wayne County, Johnston County officials said. He is a 15-year veteran of the NCSHP.

“He’s very well known around this community. We’re very thankful he was not injured. It’s just another reminder to the perils that law enforcement faces each day in the seriousness of this job,” Baker said.

Darius Rogers’ brother-in-law said the 20-year-old is a “really good kid” who has never been in trouble before. 

CBS 17 looked into Rogers’ record and found no previous criminal charges or driving violations.

Rogers’ enrolled in technical college after graduating from Cleveland High School and planned to join the military, according to his brother-in-law.

He said he has no idea why Rogers would have a gun and didn’t think he owned one.

Two Johnston County schools in Princeton were on lockdown briefly following the shooting. Prince Elementary and Princeton Middle/High School were on lockdown for less than 30 minutes, a school system official said. 

Jeanette Burgess, who lives on Highway 70 across from where the shooting took place said it’s not unusual to see people speeding down the road.

“Everyone just flies down this road,” Burgess said.

Burgess says she was leaving her house and saw the Nissan pulled over by the trooper, but didn’t think anything of it. It was only when she came back that the road was blocked off with law enforcement and emergency vehicles.

“It’s getting mighty close to home. Very close. A lot of things are happening and it seems like it’s getting closer to home,” she said.

Nearby businesses report heavy law enforcement presence and ambulances on and near Highway 70 on the east side of Princeton. 

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