COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Law enforcement officers across the state are honoring State Trooper Kevin Conner, who was shot and killed during a traffic stop Wednesday morning.
New details have been released about the hours leading up to the shooting.
According to Chadbourn Police Chief Anthony Spivey, an officer saw the white truck the suspect, Raheem Davis, was driving at the Funny Mart in Chadbourn Tuesday night around 7:30, a few hours before the shooting.
Spivey said the truck caught the officer’s eye because it was parked in the driveway of the store. The officer ran the tags, but the truck hadn’t been reported stolen yet.
According to Spivey, the truck wasn’t reported stolen until shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday, just before Davis' first court appearance.
Wayne Bailey, who runs the Wayne E. Bailey Produce Company, reported his work truck missing from his warehouse in Chadbourn, and police confirmed it was the vehicle Davis had stolen.
On Thursday, troopers watched over Conner at a funeral home in Tabor City. They said it is a ritual to stay with fallen troopers 24 hours a day, usually in 12-hour shifts.
One trooper said Conner won’t be alone until he is buried.
Law enforcement officers across the state are wearing black mourning bands to honor Conner. Some, like Spivey, have put ribbons in front of their departments to honor him as well.
Spivey said he wanted to do something to honor a man he knew for almost 20 years who was protecting his community.
“A lot of times, people do give (law enforcement) a bad name," Spivey said. “They hate to see us coming until they need us, but the biggest thing is, at night while they’re at home laying in the bed with a roof over their heads, they’re relying on us to protect them, to keep someone from coming in on them and that’s what Kevin was doing. He was out working and doing his job to protect the people in this state.”
Spivey described the moment he got the call about the shooting.
“It’s just that initial numbness, like, 'No, this can’t be happening" and then, it’s like, everything happened so fast and then everything went slow-motion," Spivey said. “When you get a large group of law enforcement officers together, it doesn’t matter the badge you wear, whether you’re Highway Patrol or whether you’re the local sheriff’s department. ... We’re all one and just that family, that brotherhood is an unbreakable bond. It’s pretty strong.”
A visitation for Conner is scheduled from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday at South Columbus High School with the funeral to follow shortly after.