Plainfield Township, PA - A Pennsylvania State Police Corporal is in extremely critical condition Tuesday night after being shot three times during a traffic stop.
In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police described in horrifying detail what happened during the incident, and described the unidentified trooper as "a warrior" with "a will to live", according to WNEP TV .
The incident occurred about 10:15 AM on Route 33 in Plainfield Township. The unidentified trooper, who is assigned to Belfast Barracks, stopped a vehicle for speeding in Plainfield Township.
The trooper issued a citation to the driver of the vehicle, then told him he was free to go.
As the trooper got back in his cruiser, about to leave, the driver got out of his vehicle and flagged the trooper down. The suspect told the trooper that he wanted to speak to him about the citation, and asked how he would go about paying it off.
The trooper talked to the suspect, and as the conversation continued, the trooper believed that the suspect was under the influence of either alcohol or narcotics.
He told the suspect that he was no longer free to go, and walked back to his car and called for backup.
A second unidentified trooper arrived to assist the first trooper, and the driver was asked to get out of his vehicle and perform field sobriety tests, which he did.
The trooper believed he had probable cause to arrest the suspect for DUI, and placed the suspect under arrest.
The suspect began to violently resist arrest, and both troopers were in "a knockdown drag-out fight," according to the PSP spokesman.
The fight occurred dangerously close to the highway, as vehicles sped by them. The spokesman said that the struggle "became very, very violent", and that at some point the suspect was able to free himself while wrestling with the troopers on the ground.
The suspect went back to his vehicle, got a gun, and fired several shots at both troopers. One trooper, the corporal, was shot multiple times. The troopers returned fire, and the suspect was shot several times.
The wounded trooper was unable to continue the gunfight, but the second trooper continued firing at the suspect as the suspect got in his car and fled. The suspect drove himself to Easton Hospital, where he is reportedly in surgery for multiple gunshot wounds.
The wounded trooper was shot three times and was "critically wounded." He was given critical care at the scene and then airlifted to St. Luke's Hospital where he underwent surgery.
The PSP spokesman said in the press conference earlier this afternoon that he is "very hopeful at the progress he's made," and "hopeful that it will continue." He said that he couldn't thank the staff enough, as well as the EMTs, police officers, life flight crew and doctors who worked on saving the trooper's life.
He said, "without them, I'm almost certain we'd be talking about the death of a trooper."
"He's a warrior, he went through a heck of a fight along the side of a road, he has a will to live, and God willing he's going to pull through."
Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured trooper.