The man who wounded a police officer from Scotland County has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Robesonian newspaper.
Victor Ronald Spearman, 22, shot himself while hiding in a trash receptacle behind a home on East Third Street on Sunday morning, Lumberton Police chief Mike McNeill told the Lumberton newspaper.
Spearman was rushed to Southeastern Medical Center by ambulance and later transferred to another hospital, where he died.
Spearman is accused of shooting Marcus Norton, a Lumberton police officer, who lives in Laurel Hill.
The 32-year-old Norton, who was shot in the back of his left leg, is expected to recover.
Norton’s wife, Heather, said he is resting at home.
“He is in a lot of pain, but basically doing fine,” Heather Norton said. “He didn’t have to have surgery. The doctors felt it was better to leave the bullet in there rather than risk complications.”
Heather Norton said she could not talk about details of the shooting while it is under investigation. The case has been handed over to the State Bureau of Investigation, which is standard procedure when a police officer has been shot. Norton is a master patrol officer.
“My first reaction when I heard was anger,” she said. “How could you not be upset when you find out your husband has been shot? But now all I feel is sadness. The person involved is dead and even he is someone’s child. So it is a sad situation for everyone involved.”
Norton, who has been a police officer for seven years, is the second Lumberton police officer has been shot during the past month.
On July 17, Master Police Officer Jeremiah Goodson was shot and killed at a service station off Fayetteville Road while trying to arrest a person who was wanted on several charges. Goodson, who was struck four times, had been off-duty when he saw the person and tried to make the arrest.
Heather Norton, who works as a registered nurse at Scotland Memorial Hospital, said Goodson’s death had already heightened her fears for her husband.
“In the back of your mind there is always that kind of fear, but when it happens so close to home, you really start to think, she said. “officer Goodson and my husband are about the same age and it just forces you to realize that it can happen to anyone and at anytime.”
Heather Norton added that the support that she and her family have received has been overwhelming.
“Since the shooting, the support and encouragement from friends and family has been tremendous,” she said. “I want thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.”
It has been reported that Norton and a second officer saw someone trying to break into Haywood Auto Sales on East Second Street around 5 a.m. Sunday. The person ran when the officers approached.
“They pursued him,” McNeill said.
The officers spotted the person behind some bushes in a yard off East Third Street, shots were fired, and Norton was struck in the leg.
Following the shooting, Lumberton officers blocked off a 10-block area as they looked for the shooter.
According to McNeill, police knew that Spearman was inside a trash bin and spent “several hours … trying to get him to put his gun down. Our negotiators were talking to him.”
McNeill said no shots were fired at Spearman. He said after police heard a gunshot, they approached the bin and found Spearman injured.
According to Spearman’s Facebook page, the Duplin County native attended Lumberton High School and later moved to Rose Hill, where he worked at House of Raeford, a poultry processing plant. He moved back to Lumberton when things “went south” and he “started getting into trouble,” according to his page.
Spearman was on probation in Duplin County for charges of a DWI and speeding to elude arrest in 2010, according to the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Spearman had previously faced charges of forgery, vandalism, larceny, and breaking and entering.
Editor Scott Witten contributed to this article.