ROSEBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — It was a terrifying scene in Sampson County early Saturday morning as a deputy was shot while responding to a call for a stolen car.
“She’s young, okay? That doesn’t mean she can’t handle the job, far from it, but she’s young,” Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said of Caitlin Emanuel, the injured officer.
It all started with a call about a stolen car.
“She got into a confrontation with the suspect, he grabbed her around the neck, she was drawing her weapon, and the gun went off,” Sheriff Thornton explained.
The deputy suffered a broken femur bone and foot injury from the gunshot wound, but survived. It’s unclear how exactly the gun went off during the struggle, but police say the man involved is 36-year-old Michael A. Walthall Jr., a Pennsylvania man who was visiting North Carolina.
The deputy was shot around 2 a.m., and then Walthall apparently ran from the scene, right to the nearby home of Cynthia and Elbert Hall, who had a security camera that captured it.
“I [saw] the guy, I didn’t see him when he was in my car, but I saw him when he got out of my car,” Cynthia Hall said.
The couple woke up to blood on their car and their home, prompting them to check their surveillance video. In it, you can see a man who appears to be Walthall Jr. get into the car, hide in the backseat for some time and then get out. The Hall family says it left them feeling uneasy.
“It just doesn’t feel safe no more, we’ve been here for 30 years and never had any problems,” Hall said.
Walthall was found and arrested a short time later, and with him now behind bars, officers say they’re focusing on Deputy Emanuel’s recovery.
“Thank God she’s alive,” Sheriff Thornton said. “Certainly, everybody pray for her.”
CBS 17 did look into the suspect’s criminal history. Walthall Jr. is a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania and had a number of arrests, including assault and conspiracy.