WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A detective with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office was shot while confronting a suspicious vehicle in the Creekwood community around lunchtime Thursday.
The Creekwood community is located on the north side of Wilmington, near the Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
A spokesperson with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office said members of the Gang Task Force saw two suspicious men in a car Thursday just before noon and followed them as they drove into the Creekwood community.
Sgt. Jerry Brewer said the suspicious men got out of the car. Detective Michael Spencer and another deputy then attempted to approach the men to talk with them, and the passenger of the vehicle opened fire at the deputies.
According to Sheriff Ed McMahon, Spencer was hit in the upper leg, suffering a non-life threatening injury. Spencer has come out of surgery successfully and is expected to recover.
One of the deputies hid behind a telephone pole to return fire, but it has not been stated if the suspect was hit.
McMahon said authorities took the driver into custody, but have since released him. They are searching for the alleged shooter, who has been described only as a man about 5'8" wearing all black.
"We will not stop until we have him in custody," said McMahon. "We are working some really good leads right now."
Officials made a perimeter from Princess Place Drive to Martin Luther King Blvd. to search for the suspect.
People who live in homes blocked off with caution tape in the 800 block of N. 30th Street were told Thursday to go to the community center until they get clearance it is okay to go home.
According to the NHC Schools Lockdown Twitter feed, Mary Mosley, Rachel Freeman, the Child Development Center, and Calvary Christian School went under lockdown while law enforcement investigated this incident.
Brewer said school buses were allowed to take students who live in the area home after school. Each child was shadowed by law enforcement officers as they walked to their homes.
Officials went to Lennon Woods Apartments Thursday afternoon to question a tenant in that complex. State troopers said no contact was made and nothing was going on at the apartment complex.
Jeff Hovis, the chair of the Wilmington Housing Authority Board, recently said that most people causing problems in housing developments like Creekwood don't actually live there.
"I think everyone needs to be concerned," Hovis said in an interview with WECT last month. "It's a situation you can't take lightly, and it's elevated because of the incidents."
Hovis explained Wilmington police already patrol the housing complexes looking for gang members who don't belong. Anyone with any information please contact the New Hanover County Sheriff's at 910-798-4162 or submit a tip on their website.
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