RALEIGH – Authorities have identified Enrique Lopez, 26, of Smithfield as the suspect in yesterday’s pursuit involving a state trooper in Johnston County. Lopez was attempting to elude law enforcement while fleeing in a stolen tow truck on US 70 Business. During the pursuit, Lopez began shooting at pursuing troopers who then returned fire as they neared the city of Clayton. The pursuit concluded as Lopez crashed into a tree on the eastbound shoulder of US 70 Business.
Investigators have determined Lopez was struck by a trooper’s gunfire during the altercation. The Medical Examiner’s Office is currently attempting to determine the cause of death as Lopez was pronounced deceased at the crash scene.
Trooper J. J. Kiser, a 9-year veteran stationed in Troop C, District 6 (Johnston County) has been placed on administrative duty pending an internal investigation which is agency protocol in any trooper-involved shooting.
Further inquiries into this incident should be forwarded to the SBI due to their ongoing separate investigation.
State Highway Patrol Involved in Johnston County Pursuit
RALEIGH – On Monday, July 1st, at approximately 4:23 p.m. the State Highway Patrol attempted to stop a stolen tow truck on Black Creek Rd. in Johnston County after receiving a call for assistance by local authorities. As the pursuit traveled onto US 70 Business west the driver of the stolen tow truck began shooting at pursuing troopers who then returned fire as they neared the city of Clayton.
During the course of the pursuit, the driver of the tow truck traveled across the eastbound lanes of US 70 striking trees on the adjacent shoulder. The driver of the tow truck was pronounced deceased at the scene, the cause of death is unknown.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent criminal investigation at the request of the SHP. Investigators from the SHP internal affairs unit are conducting an internal investigation which is agency protocol in any officer-involved shooting.