Lincolnton officer shoots man who stole National Guard Humvee

LINCOLNTON, N.C. — Police have identified the man that they said stole a Humvee from the National Guard Armory Saturday morning in Lincolnton and led police on a chase that ended in an officer-involved shooting.

Lincolnton police said 32-year-old Brian Brittain stole the Humvee from the base on North Aspen Street. Authorities were also investigating a breaking and entering at the National Guard Armory building that is related to the stolen vehicle.

Officers saw the military-style vehicle just before 4:30 a.m. driving erratically with no lights on, according to Lincolnton Police Chief Rodney Jordan. He said officers initiated a traffic stop with blue lights and sirens but Brittain refused to stop and a chase started down East Main Street.

[IMAGES: Officer-involved shooting in Lincolnton; SBI investigating] 

Brittain made an abrupt turn onto Salem Church Road and struck an officer's cruiser that was helping with the pursuit, Jordan said.

He said Brittain then put the Humvee into reverse and backed into the pursuing officer's cruiser, which is when the officer fired shots at the vehicle, but that Brittain sped off.

It's not clear how many shots were fired but police did confirm that Brittain was shot before driving away.

Jordan said that a short time later, Brittain abandoned the Humvee and got into another vehicle. The driver of that vehicle flagged down a sheriff's deputy and told them that Brittain had been shot.

Brittain was then flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte where he is recovering.

Police found the abandoned Humvee on Keener Road, which is about a mile from the shooting scene, and told Channel 9 that Brittain was the only person in it during the incident.

Rosaura Morales lives close to where officers found the vehicle and said she's shocked by everything that happened.

"I used to live in Charlotte so it's just like we never really had anything like that in Charlotte so to come over here in Lincolnton and have that happen, it's just a little different. It's kinda scary," Morales said.

The officer who was first hit by the Humvee, Officer Daniel Lafone, was transported to CHS-Lincoln hospital where he was treated and released. He has been with the department since October 2015.

Once released from the hospital, Brittain will be charged with felony breaking and entering, felony larceny of a vehicle, felony flee and elude, felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and felony possession of stolen goods.

The officer who shot Brittain, Officer Thomas Hall, has also been with the department since October 2015. Hall will be placed on administrative leave with pay during the investigation, which is standard procedure.

The SBI was called in to investigate the officer-involved shooting.

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