STATESVILLE, NC (WBTV) - Statesville police are looking for whoever shot one of their officers Friday night.
According to police, two officers were on routine foot patrol around Raleigh Avenue and Fifth Street around 11 p.m. when someone stepped out of the shadows behind them and fired multiple rounds in the officers' direction.
Officer Tyler Horn was shot once in the back and taken to Iredell Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released early Saturday morning.
It's devastating when these types of things happen, but neighbors say they're not surprised.
Police say there is not a description of the suspect at this point. They don't know who did this and are working to find out.
Those who live close to where the shooting happened say they have pretty good idea as to why an officer was targeted.
"If they catch them, they are going to hang them, " says Archie Chambers who lives on the south side of Statesville and close to where the officer was shot.
Chambers adds that he expects the worst punishment possible for the person responsible.
"I knew it was going to happen one day. I've been waiting for that. I've been waiting for something like that to happen. It really ain't no surprise because these people around here, they'll really do anything," Chambers said.
The south side of Statesville has a bad reputation. According to neighbors, it's known to be an area that sees a lot of crime.
"Dirty south. Dirty south. That's what they call it."
Neighbors also say that police have taken notice and have recently started to patrol the south side streets to stop crime in the area.
As more officers watch the streets, there are some who don't like it and believe the officers who patrol are meddling.
Neighbors believe this has increased the tension between the community and the men and women in blue.
"You see it all day long, officers riding, here, there, everywhere."
According to Chambers, it's been quiet around his home for a while since police started patrolling, but on Friday night that all changed when Statesville officer Tyler Horn was shot at along West Raleigh Avenue and Fifth Street while walking with another officer.
"It's a lot that happens over here. I've been here for about 38 years. It's something always happening. I mean people don't care," Chambers said.
It was Officer Horn's bulletproof vest that may have saved his life. The vest took the brunt of the shot, officials say.
He was sent to the hospital with only minor injuries.
Another neighbor who has asked for his name not be used, says he's disappointed to know something like this happened so close to his home.
"I feel bad about it. They are out here just trying to do their job," the neighbor said.
Statesville police are getting help from state and federal officers in this investigation.
Officials are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 704-878-3406.
WBTV had a crew on the scene and a heavy police presence was still in the area in the early hours of Saturday morning.