Officer recounts shooting

Officer John Taylor speaks with reporters Monday (Jim Schumacher)

February 14, 2011 8:41:10 AM PST
A Roanoke Rapids police officer shot four times in the line of duty last November spoke publicly about it for the first time Monday.

John Taylor said he had no time to react when a man in a car he pulled over on Interstate 95 started shooting at him November 17.

"One of those bullets missed me altogether. One struck me in the neck, one in my wrist, one just under my vest, and one hit me squarely in the vest," said Taylor during a news conference Monday in Roanoke Rapids.

In the seconds after the shooting, Taylor said he was thinking about his family.

"Actually, I feel a little mad at myself thinking, 'I can't die on my son.' He was only 15 months at the time, and I wanted to be there to watch him grow up," he recalled.

Taylor said the first people to help him were two passing motorists.

"Without fear for their own safety and as quickly and safely as they could, they pulled over, backed up to my location, and gave me the best aid they knew they could. Soon as I saw them, I felt a little bit better," he said.

The shooting set off a manhunt for two suspects who ditched their stolen car after leaving the scene of the shooting.

Forty-three-year-old Renee Michele Phillips of Southampton, Pennsylvania was caught the morning after the shooting in a wooded area along Three Bridges Road. As officers closed in, Michael Eugene Edgerton, 38, also of Southampton, shot himself in the head.

A .380 caliber pistol was found with Edgerton.

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

Phillips was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a stolen firearm and accessory after the fact.

Taylor said he helped get two dangerous people off the streets.

"I would like to think that maybe I stopped another crime from being committed, or an innocent bystander from being hurt, but you don't know, and to be honest with you, it really doesn't matter," he said.

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