A father and son killed a North Carolina couple and set their home on fire, and then drove to West Virginia, where they wounded two police officers in a New Year's Day shootout during a traffic stop, authorities said Friday.
A father and son killed a North Carolina couple and set their home on fire, and then drove to West Virginia, where they wounded two police officers in a New Year’s Day shootout during a traffic stop, authorities said Friday.
Investigators began piecing together the crime when two Lewisburg, West Virginia, officers pulled over an SUV on Thursday on a highway outside the city, according to State Police. The SUV had a North Carolina license plate showing it had been stolen.
During the stop, a truck pulled over nearby and its driver shot at the officers with a handgun, wounding both, State Police Lt. Michael Baylous said. One officer returned fire, wounding the suspect in the leg.
Baylous said the SUV driver fled and hid but later turned himself in. The truck driver also fled and was eventually taken into custody.
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Investigators then discovered two bodies under a mattress in the truck’s bed.
Baylous identified the suspects as Eric Campbell, 21, and his father, Edward Campbell, 54, of Texas. Police say the father was driving the truck and wounded in the leg.
They’ll be charged with malicious assault and attempted murder of a police officer, police said. Baylous said police don’t know why Eric Campbell’s face was bruised and swollen in his mug shot, but he did drive his vehicle off the road downhill into a ravine.
Lewisburg police Chief Tim Stover said Lt. Jeromy Dove, a 16-year veteran of the force, was grazed in the back of his neck. Patrolman Nicholas Sams, a rookie just out of training, had shrapnel in his forehead.
Stover said both wore protective vests, and he expected both to leave the hospital Friday.
In a phone call with The Associated Press, Sams, 20, said he was doing well and confirmed that he had been with the department just about a week. He declined to comment further.
Carrie Dove, wife of 36-year-old Jeromy, said her husband called her from the scene. “The only thing he said to me was, ‘I’ve been shot. I’m fine. I’m going to the hospital in an ambulance.’ That’s the worst call a policeman’s wife can ever dream of.”
Granville County Sheriff Brindell B. Wilkins Jr. told Raleigh TV station WRAL that the bodies in the truck were Jerome Faulkner, 73, and his wife, Dora Faulkner, 62.
The sheriff told the station that he believes the Campbells burst into the Faulkners’ home northwest of Oxford on Thursday morning, set the house on fire and took the couple and their SUV. Wilkins said it wasn’t immediately clear why the two were targeted or exactly when they were killed.
Wilkins didn’t return messages Friday from The Associated Press.
Last September, Edward Campbell was arrested for aggravated assault, according to court records in Brazoria County, Texas, which is south of Houston. Court officials could provide no other details, saying his case file was sealed.
He also had been on probation or deferred adjudication for five years after pleading guilty in 2007 to a charge of possession of a controlled substance.
He had been a nurse in several states. Records show his Florida license expired in 1998. His Texas license was revoked in 2009 after charges related to more than 80 incidents of improper documentation, misuse or misappropriation of narcotics while working at several Houston-area hospitals in 2007.
Chrystal Daugherty, who was married to Campbell in 1984 and 1985, said he also worked as a nurse in California and brought home drugs from work. She hasn’t talked with him in nearly 30 years.
“He needed to go to jail a long time ago.” She said
In rural Granville County, North Carolina, Jerome Faulkner was a founding member of the Cornwall Volunteer Fire Department in 1983 and served as its first chief. He retired a few years ago, but he still occasionally came in to help out.
Longtime friend Eugene Blackwell said he and Faulkner, an electrician, founded the department after a home burned down before firefighters from a station miles away could arrive. As chief, Faulkner helped raise money for equipment and train a generation of volunteer firefighters, Blackwell said.
“You get pretty close. You understand each other and have a lot of respect for each other. He made this fire department what it is,” Blackwell said.
Usually, Blackwell — also a former fire chief — still helps out at fire scenes. This time was different.
“I just didn’t want to go back up there today. It’s been too hard,” he said.
With about 8,400 people, Oxford is a small town with tree-line streets and roads to the country. The Faulkners lived in a house set back from the highway.
Faulkner served as a deacon at Mountain Creek Baptist Church and regularly handed out programs as an usher, said the Rev. Johnny Edwards.
“They were very quiet. They kind of stayed to themselves at the house, but if you needed any help at all, they were there to help you,” he said.
Weiss reported from Charlotte, North Carolina. Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York and reporters Jonathan Drew in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Mike Graczyk in Houston contributed to this report.