Car chase suspect shot twice by Vance sheriff's deputy
A high-speed chase ending near a boat launch off Flemingtown Road Monday morning ended with gunshots fired in the woods.
The suspect driving the car tried a last-gasp escape, driving over stop sticks placed by Vance County sheriff’s deputies and into a wooded area. Upon exiting his vehicle, he was hit twice in the shoulder area, according to Vance County Sheriff Peter White.
He was transported to Duke University Medical Center.
White identified the suspect as John Thomas Mann, possibly in his 40s, but adding there are at least three individuals of the same name familiar to his department.
White said the area would remain secured until detectives with the State Bureau of Investigation could arrive and complete a thorough review of the incident as part of standard protocol.
According to White, there was no known gun in Mann’s possession during the chase, but there would be a full search of the suspect vehicle. Charges are pending the results of the ongoing investigation.
White said after the chase became bogged down in a circular run-around at the boat dock parking area, deputies deployed stop sticks to disable the suspect vehicle that then took a turn into the woods.
At least three deputies gave pursuit on foot, and moments later the shots rang out.
“He was shot two times as he attempted to run over a deputy,” White said. “The one who was in front of the vehicle is the one who did the shooting.”
White identified the shooter as Sgt. Tony Wallace, an eight-year veteran, who found himself in a prone position briefly as he dodged the onslaught. He was able to rise up and fire at least three shots.
White said he thought it was no more than three shots that were fired, but a man out on the water who witnessed the chase scene around the parking lot said he heard six or seven gunshot sounds from the woods.
“I was sitting there fishing,” Anthony Yarborough said. “I heard the police cars come, and then he was circling and circling in the parking lot, a good 20 times. They put down the spike strips, and got him with the strips. He just went off into the woods. I heard them yelling at him, and then there were six or seven gun shots.”
White said he believed there would likely have been an echo on the water.
According to White, the call to deputies at about 11:30 a.m. was of an unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and deputies knew Mann to be the driver. Previous case warrants were out on Mann for a previous charge of vehicle theft.
A couple of motorists who did not wish to be identified said they saw the chase on Flemingtown Road, one saw the turn made toward the end of the road that led to the boat dock area on fresh-paved roadway.
White said Mann was acting erratic and possibly impaired as he circled the parking lot.
“He was laughing the whole time,” White said. “He was obviously high on something.”
Mack Bobbit, in the area for recreational reasons Monday morning, is also a medical responder. He helped with the injury situation at the scene. He said he could not comment on the incident because of medical confidentiality reasons.
Henderson police helped secure the section of Flemingtown Road that led from a turn toward the boat dock. Boaters returning by boat to the dock were allowed to move through and leave the area.
Lonnie Tucker, like several others driving by police barricades as they drove from the scene, said he did not witness the incident because they had been further out on the water.
“We came off the lake, and they asked us if we saw anything,” Tucker said. “We didn’t see a thing. We don’t have any idea what happened.”
Others wanting to access the road toward the boat dock were turned back.
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A stolen car chase ended with gunshots and one man going to Maria Parham Medical Center shortly after noon Monday, according to unconfirmed reports.
Vance County Sheriff’s Office deputies were involved in pursuit of a stolen car. The chase led to the area of Flemingtown Road.
The suspect driving the car is believed to have suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the shoulder area. There was no report on whether a deputy had fired the shots, or been shot at by the suspect.
Sheriff Peter White was on the scene and as of just before 1 p.m. was yet to release information on what had transpired.
The Dispatch will bring information as it becomes available.