N.C. trooper shot in face receives Congressional Badge of Bravery

Despite his injuries, Trooper Daniel Harrell pursued the suspect and provided information that led to an arrest

By Julian Shen-Berro
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

WILSON COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina trooper injured in the line of duty in 2019 will receive a congressional honor Monday.

Trooper Daniel Harrell of the N.C. State Highway Patrol was shot multiple times during a Jan 14, 2019, traffic stop in Wilson County that led to the pursuit and arrest of an armed suspect.

The initial stop was for illegal towing, according to a 2020 U.S. Department of Justice news release.

The suspect fired into Harrell's patrol car windshield, striking him in the cheek and forehead, federal prosecutors said in the release.

Despite his injuries, Harrell pursued the suspect, who made a U-turn and rammed Harrell's patrol car, prosecutors said. Investigators found multiple bullet casings at the scene of the shooting, including one with the suspect's DNA.

Harrell fed information to Raleigh emergency operators who helped officers catch the suspect, officials said.

The suspect, John Jones of Wilson, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for unlawfully possessing ammunition.

"Trooper Harrell's experience with the defendant in January of 2019 is our worst nightmare," then U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon Jr. said in the release after Jones' sentencing. "He stops a vehicle for a relatively minor suspected violation, he finds himself fighting for his own life as he takes gunfire to the face."

"We are so grateful that Trooper Harrell survived and has overcome his injuries; but his experience reminds us of the inherent danger law enforcement faces every day," Higdon said.

Congressional Badge of Bravery

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis will award Harrell the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery at Wilson Community College late Monday morning, his office announced in a news release.

The award honors law enforcement agents who perform acts of bravery while sustaining physical injuries, or who risked serious injury or death in the line of duty.

U.S. Rep. G. K. Butterfield and U.S. Attorney Michael Easley Jr. will also attend the ceremony.

Harrell is one of 21 recipients for the 2019 Badge of Bravery, and is the only 2019 recipient from North Carolina.

He is also a third generation state trooper, The News & Observer previously reported.

"He was born into the Highway Patrol family," then NCHP Commander Col. Glenn McNeill told WRAL, calling Harrell a hero. "When faced with difficult odds, he relied on his training and did a phenomenal job working through what was a horrible incident," he said.

[NEXT: The Up-Beat: Top police heroes of October]

(c)2021 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

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