State highway patrol spokesman Michael Baker told reporters that the suspect fired several shots as Trooper Kevin Conner approached his vehicle during a traffic stop around 12:15 a.m. He died at a local hospital.
The suspect fled to Fair Bluff, where he was pursued by police until his vehicle became disabled on railroad tracks. The suspect then fled on foot and was taken into custody around 4 a.m.
The suspect has not been identified. Conner was officially identified after multiple news outlets named him as the trooper who was shot, including WRAL.
The trooper was shot on U.S. 701 near Whiteville, in southeastern North Carolina. Fair Bluff is around 20 miles west of Fair Bluff, close to the South Carolina state line.
Tragic news out of Columbus County. State trooper Kevin Conner was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop in Whiteville. The suspect was taken into custody after a chase. We have details on @WRAL on FOX50. #wral pic.twitter.com/XB3K42eveI
— Claudia Rupcich (@WRALClaudia) October 17, 2018
The @NCSHP and it's @NCPublicSafety family are mourning the loss of one of its troopers who was fatally shot this morning in a traffic stop in Columbus County. More information is forthcoming. pic.twitter.com/q7HsozVkqf
— NC Highway Patrol (@NCSHP) October 17, 2018
My deepest condolences for our partners with @NCSHP as they mourn the death of a trooper killed overnight. All @CityofRoxboro officers will wear a mourning band on their badges as we mourn with them. https://t.co/UXFGUlcb5E pic.twitter.com/wN4Xzbwv2L
— David Hess (@ChiefDavidHess) October 17, 2018
— Brandon Wissbaum (@brandonwissbaum) October 17, 2018
Our thoughts and prayers go out to our fellow Troopers at the North Carolina Highway Patrol who lost a brother over night to gunfire during a traffic stop. Suspect in custody. RIP Trooper Kevin Conner. @NCSHP #lineofduty #highwaypatrol #thinblueline #nhpsocomm pic.twitter.com/pCzW8s8QuW
— NHP Southern Command (@NHPSouthernComm) October 17, 2018
Conner and fellow trooper Scott Floyd were previously hailed as heroes for their actions following a gruesome crash in Whiteville in 2011.
After a head-on collision, the troopers called for paramedics before providing first aid to the drivers, who were both pinned in their vehicles, reported WRAL.
After a fire started in one of the vehicles, Conner used an extinguisher from his patrol car to twice douse the flames.
Officials said that the actions of Floyd and Conner saved the lives of the drivers.
Officials said on Oct. 17 that Conner was “the nicest guy you would ever meet,” reported Brandon Wissbaum of WECT.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.