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Manhunt Continues After Shooting of N.C. Detective

The hunt continued Friday for a Southport man wanted in connection with shooting a law enforcement officer in Creekwood on Thursday.

Brandon Devone Smith, 30, was identified Friday morning as the suspect in the shooting, which injured Detective Michael Spencer of the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office.

Spencer underwent surgery Thursday and was recovering Friday after being hit once in the leg. The detective, who was originally identified as a member of the New Hanover County Gang Task Force, is a member of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.

Spencer and a Wilmington Police Detective who is also part of the task force left their vehicle and attempted to speak with two men they had spotted in a "suspicious" vehicle on Emory Street, said sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer.

"Once approached by the detectives, the passenger of the vehicle began shooting at the officers," he said. That shooting took place in a grassy common area separating the homes on Emory and 30th Streets.

The Wilmington police detective returned fire on Smith, who immediately fled, prompting a massive manhunt that continued into Friday.

Brewer added there was no evidence Smith was injured during the shootout.

Warrants were issued charging Smith with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official. Smith's last known address is 718 N. Lord St. in Southport, Brewer said.

While the hunt for Smith continues, the Wilmington Police Department has placed its detective involved on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal review.

A police spokeswoman would not identify the detective Friday.

In a release, Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said that while the detective seems to have followed protocol, a review of every officer-involved shooting is necessary per department policy.

Anyone with information about Smith is may contact the sheriff's office at (910) 798-4162 or submit a tip on the department's website, www.newhanoversheriff.com. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward up to $5,000 to anyone who can provide information leading to Smith's arrest.

Copyright 2013 - Star-News, Wilmington, N.C.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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