WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy is recovering after what the Sheriff’s Office called “successful surgery” after he was shot today in Creekwood. Meanwhile, the search continues for the man who shot him.
Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have joined forces to search for the suspect.
Sheriff Ed McMahon identified the injured deputy as Det. Michael Spencer.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer says Spencer appears to have suffered non-life-threatening injuries and should be OK.
Brewer says deputies, including Spencer, approached two men they saw drive into Creekwood. As they approached, the man who had been the passenger in the car started shooting. Spencer, a member of the Gang Task Force, was hit. Brewer says another deputy took cover behind a telephone pole and returned fire.
Investigators say they are looking for a black male 5’8″ or 5’10”, 215-230 lbs. wearing black jeans, a black hoodie and a knit ball cap. McMahon says the unnamed suspect should be considered armed and dangerous.
At one point officers converged on an apartment at Lennon Woods on Lennon Drive. McMahon would not say whether that was related to the search for the shooting suspect.
Officers captured the driver of the car. They later released him and his vehicle after questioning him. Investigators have not released his identity.
During an afternoon news conference, Sheriff McMahon was asked if Creekwood has a gang problem. He would only say there was a gang problem in general in the area.
The shooting led to lockdowns at Mosley Performance Learning Center and Freeman Elementary School. The district later said law enforcement gave clearance to allow buses into Creekwood with police escort.
Police, deputies and state troopers swarmed the area in and around Creekwood looking for the suspect. Brewer said the SABLE helicopter could not used because of the weather. Pender County and Brunswick County also offered assistance, including K-9 units and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office’s new armored personnel carrier, which carried its SWAT Team.
Law enforcement officers blocked streets around the neighborhood. For much of the afternoon a Wilmington Police officer with a large firearm guarded the entrance to Creekwood. Officers also checked vehicles as they left Creekwood.
Creekwood residents say they are angry, because they say they never see this many officers when residents are shot in the neighborhood.