Deputy shot during traffic stop leaves hospital on 22nd birthday

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — A Caldwell County deputy who was shot during a traffic stop last Sunday night was able to go home on his 22nd birthday.

Deputy Jordan Sherrill received a police escort home from the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

Last week, Sherrill was shot below his bulletproof vest during a routine traffic stop near Lenoir.

The driver, Kerry Townsend, took off after shooting Sherrill but was later shot and killed during a gunfire exchange with police.

[IMAGES: Deputy shot during traffic stop near Lenoir]

Police said a second person was arrested last week in connection with the shooting of Sherrill.

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office charged 47-year-old James Edgar Roberts, of Lenoir, with accessory after the fact and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

(James Edgar Roberts)

Man accused of shooting deputy during traffic stop killed in gun fight

Officials said Kerry Edwin Townsend was inside a home off Zacks Fork Road. Authorities were responding to a breaking-and-entering call when the suspect opened fire, officials said.

Deputies believe Roberts provided transportation to the two primary suspects, Townsend and Stephanie Lee Sipes, by driving them around while allegedly knowing they were responsible for the shooting.

Sipes was arrested earlier in the week and is being held on a $1 million bond.

(Kerry Edwin Townsend)

"Once they went in a couple rooms, they encountered a subject that had a pistol, and he fired upon the deputies," Sheriff Alan Jones said.

Channel 9 was there as authorities blocked off the area and surrounded the house Tuesday afternoon.

“He shouldn't have done what he done,” neighbor Cleveland Locklear said.

Officials said the shooting happened around 11:30 p.m. Sunday on Cheraw Road near the intersection of Pisgah Church Road, not far from Lenoir.


Officials told Channel 9 that the deputy, Sherrill, was wearing a bulletproof vest but was hit below the vest.

The Caldwell County sheriff said Sherrill got out of his patrol car during the traffic stop, walked up to the vehicle he pulled over and that's when a shot was fired from inside the car.

Sherrill was flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where he was rushed into surgery. Later Monday morning, officials said he was out of surgery and in stable condition.

Authorities said Sherrill has been with the Sheriff’s Office for just over a year.

We first updated WSOCTV news app users with a notification just before 4:30 a.m. Monday that the deputy was shot and authorities were searching for the shooter.

Download the WSOCTV news app for your smartphone and get updates on this developing story as they come in.

Jones spoke to Channel 9 about the dangers deputies face during routine stops.

(Deputy James Sherrill)

"That's something we do a lot of, any agency does,” Jones said. “But those can be the most dangerous, besides domestics, they can be one of the most dangerous."

Law enforcement officials said Townsend sped away after the shooting. He was driving a blue, early 1990s model Toyota Corolla with North Carolina plates AFJ-5570. A woman was in the passenger seat, officials said.

Stephanie Sipes was charged with accessory after the fact of the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. She was accused of being in the car at the time of the shooting.

Channel 9 has confirmed there is body camera footage of the shooting.

Nearby resident Gather King said he heard a siren late Sunday night.

"When I looked to see what was going on, that's when I heard the gunshot," King said.

He ran outside and noticed the deputy's car wasn't moving.

"I just knew I had to get there because I knew he was in trouble," King said.

He told his wife to call 911 and ran outside barefoot to Sherrill. King tried to compress the wounds to stop the bleeding. He said the deputy's gun was still in the holster.

"He didn't even have time to draw his weapon,” King said. “He didn't have a chance."

Crimestoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in this case.

The Sheriff’s Office is working with the State Bureau of Investigations to gather more information and determine a motive for the shooting.

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