ROCK HILL, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - A man accused of shooting a South Carolina state trooper is still in the hospital tonight, injured by the gunfire the trooper returned. When he gets out he'll be facing a long list of charges.
FOX 46 has learned that the suspect, Willie Bernard Wright, is a convicted felon. The South Carolina Department of Corrections says he was released in August of last year after five years and six months on an attempted murder conviction out of York County.
Thankfully Trooper Alex Wise is out of the hospital and ok. Officials say this is thanks to his bulletproof vest.
“The vest done its job and he continued to do his job so he's still here with us,” Chief of the Leslie Fire Department Tommy White said. White is Wise’s boss at his second job at the fire service.
Trooper Wise tried to pull over Wright, 27, Sunday night because Wright didn't have his seat belt on according to the Highway Patrol.
They say Wright refused to stop and got into a chase with Wise. Wright eventually crashed into a gate near the intersection of India Hook Road and Sand Island Road in Rock Hill.
Troopers say Wright got out of his car and began firing shots at Wise. He was hit, but managed to return fire striking Wright and taking him into custody.
“All this was over a seat belt violation is how it got started so those guys never know.”
Wise stopped by the fire department on Monday after he was released from the hospital.
“His family's doing good he's doing good,” White said.
The fire chief expects Wise to be back at his job at the fire station soon. He tells FOX 46 Wise is married with two young boys.
Wise posted an update on his Facebook page, saying in part, "The overwhelming support I have received shows me how blessed I really am to have the family and friends that I have. Thank you all for the continued prayers! God is great!"
“I’ve got a lot of guys I wish I could clone and he'd be one of them,”
State officials say Wright is currently on what's called community supervision similar to probation for his prior attempted murder conviction.