Suspected gunman leads authorities on chase - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Suspected gunman leads authorities on chase

(Source: Lindsey Martin) (Source: Lindsey Martin)
(Source: Lindsey Martin) (Source: Lindsey Martin)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – New Hanover County Sheriff's deputies chased a suspected gunman into Pender County early Saturday morning.

Deputies were called back out to 7212 Morley Court near Ogden Park for reported gunfire. Deputies observed Phillip Michael Donaldson II getting into his vehicle and driving away. When deputies pursued the suspect, Donaldson took off north on Highway 17 towards Hampstead. 

Additional units from the Pender County Sheriff's Office, Surf City Police, and NCSHP assisted in trying to stop Donaldson who was reportedly driving carelessly and recklessly. Donaldson attempted to make a U-turn in Surf City but drove his vehicle into a ditch.

Donaldson was taken into custody to the Pender County Jail, pending charges. New Hanover County charges are forthcoming as well.

Deputies were initially called out to the New Hanover County community Friday evening after neighbors reported gunfire. Sheriff's Sgt. Jerry Brewer said Donaldson had a domestic dispute with his girlfriend and went outside and discharged a firearm. The girlfriend was not at home at the time.

At the time, Donaldson was inside the home and in possession of a handgun and long gun.  After speaking with Donaldson for a short time deputies advised him of county ordinances against discharging a firearm in the county. Donaldson agreed and advised he would not discharge the firearm again.

Deputies say he was possibly impaired at the time.

Authorities did not arrest the man or charge him with anything because they say he did not commit a crime. 

Brewer said the man did violate a county ordinance, but it is up to the officer's discretion to write a citation. In this case, the officer decided to give the man a warning.

No one was injured, but neighbors say it was scary hearing gunshots in the community. 

"My heart was pounding I was terrified," said Lindsey Martin, who lives across the street. "I didn't know what was being shot at or who, or what direction they were going in." She grabbed her two young children and pulled them into a backroom.

"When I realized it was gunfire, I was terrified," said Martin. She says the neighborhood is usually quiet and that gun shots are unusual.

"We've never seen anything like this - and I think that's why we were so terrified, we just never would have expected it," said Martin.  She says she was surprised to find out Donaldson was not arrested the first time.

"I can not believe it's legal, it's just, I can't," said Martin. 

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