Police officer shot, suspects in custody

Breon Black and Thomas Mitchell
December 21, 2009 1:30:43 PM PST
Sanford police say Officer Scott Norton was shot five times in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Sanford police arrested 21-year-old Breon Montrell Black Sunday, for his involvement in the shooting. He is charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder, two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer, one count of assault with deadly weapon and one count of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. Black is in custody at Lee County Jail under a $960,000 bond.

Authorities also arrested 16-year-old Thomas Harold Mitchell II, in connection with the shooting. He is charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder, two counts of assault on law enforcement officer with a firearm, one count of assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill inflict serious injury and one count of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. Mitchell is also in Lee County Jail. He is under a $860,000 bond.

Sanford police say Officer Norton and another officer were patrolling in the Thornwood Village Mobile Home Park Sunday morning around 1:15 a.m., when the officer's noticed four suspicious subjects. After getting out of their patrol car, the officer's identified themselves, and that's when shots rang out, striking Officer Norton five times.

"I was hanging with my friend and [then] I heard eight gun shots at one time. I looked out the door and I saw a person laying on the ground," Thornwood Village Mobile Home Park resident Brandi Grier said.

Grier is one of the residents at the Mobile Home Park who says she heard gunshots near her home early Sunday.

Officer Norton was struck four times in the lower body, and was hit once in his upper body. Norton was wearing a bullet proof vest, and Sanford police think that may have saved his life.

Officer Norton was airlifted to UNC Chapel Hill. As of Monday, he is in good condition at UNC and is expected to make a full recovery.

Officer Norton is a five year veteran of the Sanford Police Department. The officer's were patrolling in the area due to an increase of crime in the area. Officer Norton was wearing clothes that identified him as a police officer.

Captain David Smith with the SPD says he cannot remember the last time an officer was shot in the line of duty in Sanford.

About 30 to 40 police officers were at the courthouse on Officer Norton's behalf when Black and Mitchell were in court Monday.

The judge kept the pair's bond as it was and set a probable cause hearing for Jan. 13.

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