Zebulon officer accidentally fires gun during traffic stop, shoots himself as driver dragged him

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Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Zebulon officer accidentally shoots self as drivers speeds away
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Zebulon police officer Colby James accidentally shot himself in the arm after a woman tried to drive off and started to drag him.

ZEBULON, N.C. (WTVD) -- An officer is recovering this morning after accidentally shooting himself while a suspect tried to get away from a traffic stop that turned into a chase.

Around 9:40 p.m., officer Colby James was checking on a suspicious vehicle at Zebulon Community Park on Arendell Avenue, according to Zebulon police.

Officer James determined the suspect, 51-year-old Deserie Ann Byrum, had an outstanding warrant from Randolph County for numerous charges including reckless driving. James asked the woman to step out of her car and that's when she tried to drive off and started to drag the officer.

While that was happening, James took his gun out of its holster and it accidentally went off hitting him in the left arm.

The officer finally fell from the car as the woman drove off. He was taken to WakeMed to be treated and was released early Tuesday morning.

Byrum's car was found a short time later in Johnston County and a chase began. Spike strips were used to disable the car and Byrum was taken into custody.

She is facing numerous charges including assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, damage to property, and careless and reckless driving. Warrants were also served against Byrum.

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On Tuesday, Byrum appeared in court where the judge increased her $35,000 bond more than six times -- saying there is a public safety concern.

Her new bond was set at $250,000.

In court, the prosecution offered new details on the violent struggle the officer endured Monday night.

"When he approached her to serve these warrants, she pinned him in the doorframe of the vehicle and ultimately put the car in drive and began to operate the vehicle," a prosecutor said. "It went over a barrier and into a wooded area. she dragged that officer about 50 yards, half a football field before he was ultimately able to stop the assault"

At Zebulon Community Park on Tuesday, there were broken car parts on the ground near the children's playground.

"We are grateful that our officer was not more seriously injured last night and pray for his recovery over the coming weeks," Zebulon Police said in a statement.

Since the only person injured was the officer, the investigation will remain with the Zebulon Police Department.