Suspect arrested after officer-involved shooting

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington police have arrested a man after an officer-involved shooting near 3rd and Market streets.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Wilmington International Airport personnel say a suspicious man tried to gain access to a secure area. The suspect, a 33-year-old man, was confronted by airport personnel who asked him to leave.

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Around 5 p.m., Wilmington police officers, who say they did not know of the airport incident, tried to stop a car for a traffic offense, but the driver took off. However, WPD supervisors decided to end the pursuit due to traffic volume.

Shortly after, police say the driver drove up behind the WPD units and followed them.

“At the same time, an New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy working the civil section was on foot in the area,” a news release stated.

The suspect then allegedly veered at the deputy, trying to hit him with his vehicle.

Both WPD and NHSO fired at the suspect, striking him at least once.

The suspect drove off several blocks before he collided with a WPD vehicle and was arrested, the release states. He was transported to the hospital and planned to undergo surgery.

Police did not release the identity of the suspect.

Police say that this incident is unrelated to the recent shootings that have occurred in the Wilmington and New Hanover County area.

District Attorney Ben David, Chief Donny Williams, and Sheriff Ed McMahon has called in the State Bureau of Investigation to investigate the shooting. NC Highway Patrol is investigating the vehicle crash.

An eyewitness, Jeffrey Lewis, lives near the intersection of 4th and Walnut Streets and says he saw the events play out.

“I was standing on my porch with my daughter, my three-year-old,” Lewis said. “A truck came by doing about 40. There was two officers with the lights on, no sirens.”

Lewis says he saw the officer get out of his vehicle with a gun drawn.

“Three pops ‘pow pow pow.’ The guy floors it, five more ‘pow pow pow pow pow‘ in succession,” Lewis said. “I grab my daughter, I run inside. The cops pull up instantly, like they’re everywhere.”

Lewis says he has concerns about the safety of officers’ actions.

“He just blatantly fired at this truck as it went by not caring who was behind it,” Lewis said. “So regardless if every shell hit his target, what about what could have happened? What if it did kill someone? What if he did shoot a kid?”

Police have not yet released the identity of the suspect or a photo.