Suspect in police officer shooting faces judge

Renee Michele Phillips

November 19, 2010 4:57:44 PM PST
The woman charged in connection with the shooting of a Roanoke Rapids police officer along Interstate 95 Wednesday faced a judge on Friday.

Forty-three-year-old Renee Michele Phillips of Southampton, Pennsylvania was captured just Thursday in a wooded area along Three Bridges Road.

Roanoke Rapids police said her fiance, 38-year-old Michael Eugene Edgerton, also of Southampton, shot himself in the head before officers could get to the couple.

Investigators have said they believe the pair were behind the shooting of Officer John Taylor near milepost 172 at 2:24 p.m. Wednesday. He was taken to Halifax Memorial Hospital and later airlifted to Pitt Memorial where he remains in critical condition.

On Friday, Phillips was assigned a court appointed attorney out of Hertford County.

She was being held without bond, but the judge has now set it at $800,000. Her attorney says to her knowledge, Phillips has no prior record, maybe one or two DWI.

The DA says Edgerton had a long criminal history and was on supervised probation when Phillips helped him skip town.

Phillips is facing three charges, including accessory after the fact of attempted murder. She also has charges pending that she stole her mother's vehicle, but it was not the same vehicle used in Wednesday's incident.

On Thursday, Police Chief Jeff Hinton said at a news conference that the couple was eventually found not far away from where the shooting happened.

The green 1997 Geo Prism with a Pennsylvania license plate was later located empty in the parking lot of the Halifax Academy on Three Bridges Road near NC 903 in Roanoke Rapids.

The manhunt for the suspects was relentless --troopers, dogs, helicopters-- from the moment Officer Taylor was shot.

Hinton said Officer Taylor was wearing a bulletproof vest. He was hit in the neck, upper chest, and hand. Despite that, Hinton said Taylor was expected to make a full recovery.

Hinton said passing motorists stopped to help Taylor and he was conscious enough - despite his injuries - to radio in for help and give a description of the suspects.

Hinton said Taylor had just walked up to the car from the passenger side when he was shot. Hinton said it happened in a matter of seconds.

The first officer on the scene after the shooting recalled to ABC11 Eyewitness News on Friday what he saw.

"Arrived on the scene that's when I noticed the officer was on his back, two men were standing over the top of him," Halifax County Deputy Sheriff Steven Casey said. "I realize the two men were giving him some kind of first aid. I got out of the car that's when I began to talk to the two men they started hollering he'd been shot."

Taylor is a veteran police officer who has served with Roanoke Rapids department for five years. He worked in law enforcement for four years before that. He is married with one child. Hinton described him as one of his more safety conscious officers who was ambushed in what began as a routine traffic stop.

Hinton said Taylor stopped the car for following another vehicle too closely and he didn't know it was stolen.

The Police Benevolent Foundation has set up the "Officer John Taylor Fund" at BB&T Bank. Donations can be made at any BB&T Bank.

The Police Benevolent Foundation is also donations via text for Officer Taylor. You can help by texting the phrase COPS TAYLOR to 85944. A $10 donation will be made to the "Officer John Taylor Fund" through your cell phone bill.

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