A North Carolina sheriff says 2 of his deputies and a suspect were serious wounded by gunfire

MAXTON, N.C. (AP) — Two sheriff's deputies from a southeastern North Carolina county and a man who was the subject of a warrant were seriously wounded Tuesday during exchanges of gunfire, the local sheriff said.

Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said at a news conference the three men were shot around 9:30 a.m. in a community outside of Maxton, which is about 120 miles (190 kilometers) southeast of Raleigh, close to the South Carolina border.

The suspect and one of the deputies were in critical condition at hospitals, while the other deputy was in serious condition, the sheriff said.

The suspect fled the area by getting into one of the wounded deputies' cruisers and backing up, running over one of the deputies and breaking his leg. The suspect was ultimately captured by other deputies, according to the sheriff.

Wilkins and the sheriff's office identified the shooting suspect as Shawn Tobin Locklear Jr., 20, who last December was accused of murder and was released on bond in May. The sheriff said Locklear had been sought by deputies for violating the conditions of his pretrial release because the monitoring bracelet around his ankle had been removed, a sheriff's news release said.

“It was cut off. That’s the reason we had the warrants to come find him,” Wilkins said. “A couple of weeks ago deputies spotted him. They tried to catch him. He got away.”

On Tuesday, according to the sheriff, the suspect apparently saw from his house deputies approaching and ran through a wooded area. The suspect was met head-on by two deputies, jumped from behind a tree and fired, striking deputies Jonathan Walters and Kaelin Locklear, the sheriff said. At least one of the deputies fired back. Locklear and the suspect aren't related, WRAL-TV reported.

The suspect then jumped into one of the deputies' cars and ran over Walters, breaking his leg, according to Wilkins, with the other deputy firing into the patrol car as the suspect backed into another cruiser and fled. The suspect later changed cars before he was caught.

The suspect was shot at least four times and was taken to UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, the sheriff said, while the wounded deputies were being treated at a Fayetteville hospital. The suspect will face several additional charges when he leaves the hospital, according to the news release.

The sheriff's office requested assistance from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as the State Bureau of Investigation, which was processing the shooting scene, Wilkins said.

Wilkins thanked two residents who provided a belt and a towel to help stop the bleeding of the wounded officers.

Wilkins said he's “100% disgusted by certain parts of the judicial system” that allowed for the suspect to receive pretrial release months ago.

“And here we are almost praying that we don’t have a dead deputy,” he told reporters.