SBI IDs trooper, suspect involved in shooting following traffic stop

GASTONIA, N.C — The State Bureau of Investigations is investigating a trooper-involved shooting that took place Tuesday afternoon in Gastonia.

Communications received reports of shots fired from the parking lot of the B&B Antique and Artisan Mall along Highway 74 just before 3:30 p.m.

IMAGES: Trooper-involved shooting in Gastonia

The shooting stemmed from a traffic stop, according to Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell.

Bell told Channel 9 that the driver, identified as 31-year-old Jeremy Lewis, tried to flee the scene after Trooper Christopher Wade discovered he was wanted for a probation violation.

Bell said that Lewis tried to drive up an embankment, but then started reversing toward the trooper and that’s when Wade opened fire. Authorities confirmed that Wade was assaulted by the vehicle.

Pete Newton operates a booth at the back of the B&B Artisan Mall and spoke to Channel 9 about the chaotic scene.

"Some lady came running through the door saying 'I think they (are) going to shoot him.' Next thing I know I heard three shots," Newton said. "Then it was just utter chaos, law enforcement everywhere."

Sources told Channel 9 that Lewis was shot and airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where he is expected to recover.

Bell said that Trooper Wade was also transported to an area hospital and sources said he is expected to be OK.

“This incident again reminds us of the dangers our troopers face every day while trying to keep us safe,” Col. Bill Grey, commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, said in a statement. “While we are saddened that the driver was injured, I am thankful that our member was not hurt.”

Newton remembered seeing the trooper in the aftermath.

"I could see him over in the car just sort of shaking and crying. I'm sure it upset him pretty bad," Newton said.

Tamarius Lewis told Channel 9 that he doesn't understand why the trooper had to open fire on his brother.

“He's my brother,” Lewis said. “Of course I'm going to be upset about it. He's immediate family.”

Channel 9 dug deeper into Lewis’s background and learned he was released from Lanesboro Correctional Facility in December of 2010 after he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, harassment and assault on a female.

Back in 2005, Lewis pleaded guilty to a robbery attempt at a Gastonia bowling alley. Police said Lewis and his brother got in a car and chased the victims, firing a shot that hit one man in the head but didn't kill him.

Once the SBI investigation is complete, the case will be turned over to the district attorney to decide if the shooting was justified.

Authorities said when Lewis is released from the hospital he will likely end up at the Gaston County jail. He may host a state charges related to the traffic stop that could be as severe as attempted murder.

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