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N.C. trooper shot while helping stranded driver

The trooper survived and returned fire, killing the driver, the N.C. Department of Public Safety said

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Trooper Jeffrey L. Dunlap was shot in the chest.

N.C. State Highway Patrol

By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A state trooper stopped to help a stranded motorist on Interstate 26 in western North Carolina, and the driver responded by pulling a gun and shooting the trooper, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

The trooper survived and returned fire, killing the driver, the department said in a news release.

It happened at 7:35 p.m. Monday, July 3, outside Asheville, near the NC 191 exit for the Blue Ridge Parkway, officials said. The area is about 130 miles northwest of Charlotte.

Investigators say Trooper Jeffrey L. Dunlap spotted “a stranded motorist on I-26 westbound near the 33-mile marker” and pulled over to help.

“The motorist produced a firearm and fired, striking (him) in the chest,” officials said.

“A round was stopped by the member’s ballistic vest and he was able to return fire, striking the suspect. The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

The driver was identified as Wesley Scott Taylor, 57, of Leicester, N.C., officials said.

Dunlap was taken to a hospital “and has since been released,” officials said. He is a 13-year member of the department and is assigned to Buncombe County, officials said.

“In accordance with agency protocol in any trooper-involved shooting, the involved member will be placed on administrative duty,” the department said.

“The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is conducting an independent investigation of the incident. Any further inquiries into this incident should be directed to the SBI due to their separate ongoing investigation.”

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