YORK COUNTY, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - A South Carolina State trooper is said to be 'back at home with family and in good spirits' following a shooting that broke out during a traffic stop in York County Sunday night.
Trooper Paul Wise had attempted to stop a driver, identified as Willie Bernard Wright, 27, of Gaffney, SC, for a safety-belt violation around 7:45 p.m. off of India Hook Road in Rock Hill.
The suspect refused to stop and the trooper began a short pursuit. After a brief chase the suspect traveled south on Mt. Gallant Road, turning onto India Hook Road where he struck the gate at Camp Canaan Campground.
The suspect got out of the vehicle and began firing at the trooper’s vehicle. The trooper returned fire, striking the suspect. Both were struck by the exchange of gunfire and were transported to area hospitals, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Authorities said Wright served time at SCDC from Feb. 14, 2013 to Aug. 31, 2018 for attempted murder. He was released to community supervision in Spartanburg County on Aug. 31, 2018.
Trooper Wise is assigned to Highway Patrol Troop Four in York County and has been with the SC Highway Patrol since September 2016. He was receiving treatment at Piedmont Medical Center. The suspect, Wright, was also at the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Trooper Wise was wearing his bullet-proof vest and authorities said they believe that saved his life.
“I am so thankful that his issued body armor stopped the round, saving his life,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “As I said during last night’s news briefing, law enforcement is a calling, and this is why we refer to these brave men and women—like Trooper Wise—as heroes. Our law enforcement works day and night to ensure the safety and security of us all.”
This shooting remains under investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division.