The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

March 31, 2013

Fatal shooting ends chase


TARBORO — A high-speed chase on U.S. Highway 64 and brief stand-off ended with the shooting death of a 60-year-old Winston-Salem woman Sunday near the 484 mile marker in Edgecombe County.

According to a press release from the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the shooting was the culmination of a chase that began around 10:25 a.m. in Robersonville where a police officer attempted to stop a white Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by 60-year old Melissa Anne Jenkins.

When Jenkins failed to stop, the pursuit began from the Martin County town into Edgecombe County where the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Department and the Tarboro Police Department joined in the pursuit.

After a 15-minute chase, a flat tire apparently caused Jenkins to pull onto the should at mile marker 482, near the bridge over Harts Mills Run Road, a trail of law enforcement vehicles were behind her.

Law enforcement officials, who had apparently been made aware that Jenkins was armed with multiple weapons, did not approach the vehicle but instead ordered her to exit the Jeep.

"Law enforcement personnel tirelessly attempted to negotiate with the driver to surrender but were unsuccessful," the press release stated. "At approximately 11:45 a.m., the driver exited the vehicle and pointed a weapon directly at law enforcement officers who returned fire, fatally striking the individual. As a result, the driver died."

 Trooper W. R. Bulluck, a 10-year veteran assigned to the Troop C District 1 patrol office in Nash County and Trooper S. A. Stone, 5-year veteran, assigned to the Troop A District 5 patrol office located in Pitt County were place on administrative duty according to departmental policy.

A resident who lives on Harts Mills Run Road and heard the commotion said he walked outside his house to investigate.

"I didn't know what was going on," said Larry Joyner. "It shook the house when it (flurry of gunfire) went off."

A Silver Alert was issued for Jenkins at approximately 4:50 Friday afternoon. Silver Alerts are issued for persons believed to be suffering from dementia or some other form of cognitive impairment.

In a similar incident also Sunday morning, a 35-year-old mental patient from Durham was shot and killed after stealing a Wake County sheriff deputy's car and leading authorities on a chase down Interstate 440 and 540.

According to reports, the Wake County suspect had been involuntary committed to the Wake Crisis and Assessment Center and was being transferred to the Old Vineyard Hospital in Winston-Salem by a Wake County deputy.

Law enforcement officials closed two lanes of I-540 East following the incident. The road reopened about 3 p.m.

The stolen cruiser was located in the woods adjacent to the highway, and much of the area around the cruiser was blocked by crime scene tape.

Dep. Matthew Johnson and Dep. Dusty Mullen, both of the Wake County Sheriff's Office, have been placed on administrative duty. The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident.

No law enforcement officials were injured in the incident, Harrison said.

No other information was released.