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Spring Lake officer struck by car, shoots fleeing woman with daughter in car

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Police on the scene Monday night

A Spring Lake police officer shot a woman after being struck by her fleeing vehicle during a traffic stop gone awry Monday night.

It happened around 8:39 p.m. when the officer spotted a vehicle doing donuts in the Skyland Shopping Center parking lot in the 800 block of Lillington Highway.

Officer Milton Deleon stopped the vehicle on Manchester Road, and spoke with the driver, 24-year-old Melanie Wensel of Spring Lake. At some point, Wensel tried to flee and her vehicle struck Deleon.

Before she could drive away, Officer Deleon pulled his service weapon and fired two shots, injuring Wensel.

"Our officer fired his duty weapon at the car, striking the driver," Spring Lake Police Chief Charles Kimble said.

Authorities say Wensel's 5-year-old daughter was in the backseat of the car, but was not injured.

"Every situation is unique in itself," Kimble said. "An officer has a right to protect himself so I can only assume that he was protecting himself in this incident until I talk to him and interview him. Us, along with SBI, won't have a clear picture until the interview is finished."

Wensel was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, where she is listed in stable condition. Her husband told ABC11 Tuesday she was shot in the shoulder.

He said she was just released from rehab in December. A relapse back to alcohol is the only thing he could think of that would cause her to act erratically. Still, he believes she didn't mean to hurt anyone.

"Melanie's brother was a police officer. Her father was a retired police officer. She would never go out of her way to harm a police officer," he said.

He's penning an open letter apologizing for his wife's actions. Even in his heartbreak, he says he holds no ill feelings toward police.

"Thanks go out to the police officers who came to my house. My heart goes out to the police officer injured and I'm glad he's okay," he said.

Officer Deleon was also taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for treatment, and was later released.

He is assigned to the department's Neighborhood Improvement Team, and is expected to go on administrative leave, which is protocol.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office and the State Bureau of Investigation are assisting the Spring Lake Police Department with the investigation.

Spring Lake officers do wear body cameras, so investigators are combing through footage from the incident.

Meanwhile, Wensel is expected to face multiple charges.

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