Crime

Accused shooter of SC trooper with ‘cop-killer bullet’ in York jail, faces fed charges

A convicted felon was brought from North Carolina to the York County jail where he was charged for shooting a highway trooper, court and jail records show.

Willie Bernard Wright waived extradition Friday and was booked into the York County jail, officials said. Wright appeared in court Friday in Charlotte on a governor’s warrant, according to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office. Wright waived extradition in North Carolina and was picked up by State Law Enforcement Division agents, who brought him to York and served him with arrest warrants.

York County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Trent Faris and SLED spokesman Thom Berry said a bond hearing will be Saturday.

Because Wright faces the potential of life in prison without parole if convicted, he will be denied bond Saturday, prosecutors said. Only a circuit court judge in South Carolina can set bond on charges that carry life in prison, prosecutors said.

Federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms late Thursday charged Wright, 27, with a federal crime of a felon in possession of a gun and ammunition, according to federal court documents.

A federal judge signed an arrest warrant for Wright late Thursday, the document shows.

ATF agents said they have seen dashcam video that shows Wright shooting at least 12 times at S.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Alex Wise. The incident happened last Sunday in York County near Rock Hill, just south of Lake Wylie.

Wright came out of his car during a traffic stop after a chase and fired repeatedly at Wise, ATF agent O.C. Evans wrote in the criminal complaint.

“Wright then moves quickly from the silver BMW toward the passenger area of Trooper Wise’s patrol car while firing numerous rounds from his brandished firearm,” Evans wrote.

Wise was struck once in the chest by what prosecutors described as a “cop-killer bullet.”

Wise returned fire and shot Wright, officials said.

Wise was saved by his body armor and the fact that the bullet’s impact was slowed as it hit the patrol car windshield, prosecutors said. He was released Monday from a hospital.

SLED agents charged Wright with attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, failure to stop for a blue light and felon in possession of a gun during a crime. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted in South Carolina, prosecutors said.

Wright was taken to a Charlotte hospital after being shot then released later Monday and arrested in North Carolina. He remained in Mecklenburg County jail under a $5 million bond until Friday afternoon.

South Carolina law enforcement officers and prosecutors asked for the governor’s extradition warrant after Wright was arrested and taken to Charlotte, police and prosecutors said.

A governor’s warrant was signed by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. That warrant was served on Wright at the Mecklenburg County jail, Berry said.

That warrant gave South Carolina officials authority to take custody of Wright and return him to York County.

Wright has past convictions in York County for attempted murder, attempted armed robbery and other crimes, according to court records and the ATF criminal complaint.

Wright lived in Fort Mill when he was convicted of attempted murder, records show.

Wright was released from a South Carolina prison in August after a six-year sentence for the attempted murder conviction but still was under South Carolina Probation, Parole and Pardon Services supervision by state officials for that crime, Evans wrote in the federal complaint.

Wright’s lawyer, Todd Rutherford of Columbia, said after a court hearing in Charlotte earlier this week that Wright maintains his innocence.

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