YORK COUNTY, S.C. (Andrew Dys/Rock Hill Herald) - Video released by South Carolina officials shows a suspect shooting a York County trooper during a traffic stop.
S.C. Highway Patrol trooper Paul Wise was shot June 2 after he stopped a suspect after a chase, police and prosecutors said. The suspect, Willie Bernard Wright, 27, was indicted Aug. 15 by a York County grand jury for attempted murder and other charges after Wright shot at Wise, police and prosecutors said.
Wright also is charged with possession of a weapon by a felon, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and failure to stop. He faces the possibility of life in prison without parole if convicted.
The video was released by S.C. Department of Public Safety to The Herald after a Freedom of Information Act request. The video shows a man, police and prosecutors say is Wright, get out of a car after the traffic stop and fire several times at the trooper car.
Police and prosecutors say Wright used a handgun with “cop-killer bullets,” which can pierce bulletproof vests, to shoot Wise.
Wright also was indicted by federal prosecutors on charges of being a felon in possession of a gun and ammunition.
A federal indictment states Wright fired at least 12 times at Wise. The federal complaint states Wright got out of the BMW he was driving, then shot at Wise after a traffic stop.
Wise was shot but survived. Police and prosecutors said Wise’s life was saved by a combination of the bullet passing through the patrol car’s windshield, then hitting body armor worn by Wise.
Wright was hurt when Wise returned fire, officials said. He was treated then jailed.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting, said 16th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson.
Prosecutors are reviewing all the SLED investigation materials, said Thompson and Kevin Brackett, 16th Circuit Solicitor.
The initial review of the the shooting and video by the solicitor’s office has shown that Wise, the trooper, acted properly during the incident and was cleared to return to duty, Thompson and Brackett said.
Wright was released from prison in 2018 after serving an eight-year sentence for attempted murder, armed robbery and conspiracy, SLED records show.
Wright remains in jail without bond. His lawyer, Todd Rutherford, said previously that Wright maintains his innocence in the shooting.
A federal judge in July ordered Wright undergo a mental evaluation. Results of that evaluation have not yet been provided to officials, according to court records.