Posted 9:48 a.m. today
Updated 13 minutes ago
By Alfred Charles, online managing editor
Whiteville, N.C. — A second suspect has been arrested in connection with the killing last week of state Highway Patrol Trooper Kevin Conner last week in Columbus County, authorities said Tuesday.
Officials have not yet publicly identified the suspect, but District Attorney Jon David was scheduled to hold a press conference today at 12 p.m. at the Columbus County courthouse to provide more information.
Conner stopped a white GMC pickup that was speeding on U.S. Highway 701 south of Whiteville. The truck pulled over near the intersection with Sellers Town Road, and when Conner approached the vehicle, someone inside fired multiple shots, hitting Conner in the face and the torso, authorities said.
The gunman, later identified as Raheem Cole Dashanell Davis, fled the scene.
An 11-year veteran of the Highway Patrol assigned to Columbus County and the father of two children, Conner was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
“He was a family man. He loved his wife and kids. He loved his community,” Patrol First Sgt. Michael Baker, a spokesman for the North Carolina Highway Patrol, has said.
Davis has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the trooper’s slaying.
Other troopers watched the shooting on the dashcam in Conner’s patrol car to identify the suspect vehicle, which was later found in Fair Bluff, about 20 miles away, David said. When the pickup stalled on some railroad tracks, Davis jumped out and ran, the prosecutor said, and officers apprehended him about 4 a.m. in some woods near the tracks.
Davis, 20, of Chadbourn, was being held without bond in the Columbus County jail.
As of last week, prosecutors had not decided whether to whether to seek the death penalty in the case.
“This was cold-blooded, first-degree murder,” David said at the time.
Davis was on probation for a January 2017 conviction for firing a gun at a car in Chadbourn in June 2015, according to state Department of Public Safety records.
“I was devastated. I had to call a friend and see, ‘Was it true?'” said Andrea Ector, who attended Bladenboro High School with Conner. “There are good police officers out there, and Kevin was one of them.”