WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) – An off-duty police chief says he's thankful to be alive after being shot in the leg on Wednesday night, and officers with the Whiteville Police Department are searching for a man considered to be armed and dangerous.
The department has also increased their patrols as a response to a string of shootings in Whiteville this week.
Bolton Police Chief Edward Gillim, the only officer in the town, was shot in the leg around 8:30 Wednesday night. He was off-duty at the time, but was in the area when police were called out for reports of two people in the street with guns.
When police arrived, the two men ran away – one into the woods and the other towards West Virgil Street in Whiteville.
Officers were able to find Thurman Devon Jones in the woods. He was arrested and charged with resisting public arrest.
Gillim was driving in the area and slowed his vehicle when he saw the man running towards the highway. The suspect didn't realize Gillim was driving the vehicle and jumped into the police chief's car.
"The individual got inside my car and held me at gunpoint," said Gillim. "He threatened to kill me."
Police said Gillim drove a short distance before trying to stop the situation. Gillim and the man got into a fight and the police chief was shot in the leg.
"We got into a physical altercation and he actually shot me in the leg, and I kept fighting. Finally, he just got out of the car," said Gillim.
Gillim's gun was not the one that he was shot with – there was a different slug in his leg than the one his gun carries.
Gillim later drove himself to the hospital, where he underwent surgery.
He has since been released and is recovering at home in stable condition.
"It makes me love life a lot more," said Gillim. "I'm thanking my family and my friends and fellow law enforcement because that's how critical this job can be."
The Mayor of Bolton also commented.
"My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family," Mayor Frank Wilson said. "We are hoping for a speedy recovery."
The man who jumped in the vehicle is still on the run, but no identifying information about the suspect has been released.
Sgt. Andre Jackson added that someone fired 26 gunshots into a home Tuesday, and some cops were ducking behind their cars in the crossfire.
That same night, police also responded in the same area to a baseball field where more than 20 shots were heard. A bullet hit an outfield fence while a team was practicing.
The police department has adjusted schedules so that officers will be able to patrol children playing at the baseball field.
Mann said the city manager and the police chief are working closely with the Parks and Rec. Department to make an effort to keep all ballgames safe.
Sgt. Ted Dixon with the Whiteville Police Department said that all of these aforementioned shootings were isolated incidents, and that they are not gang-related. They are all open investigations at this time.
Dixon noted that now the weather is warming up, they're seeing an increase in crime.
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