Fort Mill police ID chase suspect

FORT MILL -- Police have identified a suspect in a late-night police chase in which shots were fired at a Fort Mill police officer.

Armando Contreras, 20, is wanted in connection with a two-state vehicle chase that started after an attempted traffic stop on Sutton Road in the town of Fort Mill.

The chase ended in south Charlotte but not before the suspect fired a gunshot at the officer while traveling on Interstate 485, Fort Mill Police Capt. Bryan Zachary said. The officer was not injured.

Zachary said police recovered a wallet containing Contreras' identification off Arrowood Road in south Charlotte, the place where the driver ditched his vehicle and ran into a wooded area. Contreras has not been found. His address is listed as 2012 Lynn St. in Rock Hill on the generic photo ID recovered by police. But Zachary said because the ID is not state-issued, police aren't confident in the address.

"We believe he may have ties to Rock Hill," Zachary said. "But I think that's going to be a false address."

Contreras is described as a 5-foot, 5-inch, 170-pound Hispanic male. He was last seen wearing an orange shirt and khaki shorts, Zachary said. Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts is encouraged to call police.

"He needs to be considered armed and dangerous," Zachary said.

The chase began around 11 p.m. when a Fort Mill patrol officer attempted to stop a driver traveling 55 mph in a 35 mph zone. When the officer initiated the traffic stop, the driver sped away and merged onto northbound I-77, Zachary said. The Fort Mill officer pursued the car, which reached speeds in excess of 100 mph, Zachary said.

Near Gold Hill Road, the officer saw a small, unidentified item being thrown from the car, Zachary said.

At the state line, authorities asked the Fort Mill officer to stop chasing the vehicle at high speeds but to follow it until North Carolina authorities could join the chase, Zachary said.

As the vehicle exited onto westbound I-485, one shot was fired in the direction of the Fort Mill officer's vehicle, Zachary said.

The chase ended on Arrowood Road in south Charlotte when the suspect's vehicle got a flat tire. The suspect fled into the woods, and a search by helicopter and K-9 units was unsuccessful, Zachary said.