South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Paul Wise returned fire after being struck in his ballistic vest.
Rock Hill, SC – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) has released dramatic dashcam footage that captured the moment a trooper was shot by an armed felon during a gun battle in June (video below).
The incident began at approximately 7:45 p.m. on June 2, when South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) Trooper Paul Wise attempted to stop the driver of a 2009 BMW for a seat belt violation, The Herald reported.
The driver, later identified as 27-year-old Willie Bernard Wright, was on community supervision after having been released from prison in August of 2018 following convictions for attempted murder and attempted armed robbery.
Wright refused to pull over for Trooper Wise, resulting in a pursuit that continued onto Mount Gallant Road and India Hook Road.
The convicted felon ultimately crashed into a closed gate at Camp Canaan Campground, then jumped out of the BMW and opened fire on the pursuing trooper, WACH reported.
Bullets shattered Trooper Wise’s windshield, and he immediately returned fire as Wright ran past him, dashcam footage showed.
One of the rounds that pierced the trooper’s windshield also struck him in the torso, The Herald reported.
The trooper’s ballistic vest stopped the bullet, and Trooper Wise continued to return fire, hitting Wright.
The convicted felon was transported to a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he remains hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, WACH reported.
He has been charged with attempted murder, failure to stop for a blue light, possession of weapon during a violent crime, and possession of a weapon by a person convicted of a crime of violence, according to The Herald.
Wright will be extradited back to South Carolina once he is discharged from the hospital.
Trooper Wise immediately called his wife at the conclusion of the shootout to let her know what had occurred.
“Don’t freak out…I’m okay…but I’ve just been shot,” he told her, according to WACH.
Trooper Wise, a three-year veteran-of-the-force, was transported to a hospital for treatment and has since been released, The Herald reported.
DPS Director Leroy Smith said that the trooper’s ballistic vest undoubtedly saved his life.
“Law enforcement is a calling, and this is why we refer to these brave men and women—like Trooper Wise—as heroes,” Director Smith told WACH. “Our law enforcement works day and night to ensure the safety and security of us all.”
“This is a stark reminder that these officers put their lives on the line to ensure public safety every day and every night,” Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett told The Herald. “We are very relieved that Trooper Wise was not more seriously injured. It could have been much worse. We are grateful for body armor in this incident.”
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is handling the ongoing investigation into the officer-involved shooting.
Trooper Wise will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, as per department protocol, WACH reported.
You can watch dashcam footage of Trooper Wise’s encounter with Wright in the video below: