A police officer in North Carolina is on administrative leave pending an investigation after his gun went off and hit a 30-year-old driver suspected of having drugs, according to the police department.
The incident occurred around 9:45 a.m. Sunday near Edgecombe Community College in Tarboro, about an hour east of Raleigh.
The Tarboro Police Department and Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office were conducting traffic stops in the area when officers smelled marijuana and alcohol coming from a car driven by Christopher Tervon Harris, Tarboro police said in a news release. Harris took off with officers in pursuit before police said he hit another car and tried to run on foot.
A Tarboro police officer caught up to him “within a short distance,” police said.
“During this time the officer’s firearm discharged causing a non-life threatening injury to the driver,” the police department said.
Police did not identify the officer involved.
Harris was taken to Vidant Hospital for treatment and released. He was charged with speeding to elude arrest, possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine, resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer and careless and reckless driving.
Harris was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.
Tarboro police said the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident, per protocol. The officer is on leave pending the SBI’s investigation and an internal investigation.
It’s at least the third officer-involved shooting in North Carolina over the holiday weekend.
A Sampson County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed 49-year-old Craig Locklear on Sunday, The News & Observer reported. The sheriff’s office said Locklear jumped out of his truck bed and pointed a revolver at the deputy before the shooting.
On Friday, a sheriff’s deputy in Wilkes County shot and killed 37-year-old Thomas Charlie Billings, who was wanted for murder in another county, the Wilkes Journal-Patriot reported.
Billings was also accused of pointing a gun at deputies, which was later determined to be a pellet rifle, according to the newspaper.
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