By DEUCE NIVEN
Bolton’s police chief was injured when his service weapon discharged during a fight in his car with a man running from Whiteville police Wednesday night, Detective Sgt. Ted Dixon of the Whiteville Police Department said Thursday.
Edward Delway Gillam, 41, was injured in the lower right leg as he struggled with a young man who jumped into the passenger seat of the off-duty officer’s personal vehicle, Dixon said.
Gillam, who has worked in Bolton earlier in the day, was in the area because his fiancé was concerned about two armed men in the neighborhood on Virgil Street, Dixon said.
His fiancé, whom Dixon would not further identify, was visiting in the neighborhood when she noticed two men on a neighbor’s porch, at least one with a gun, Dixon said. She called 911, and Whiteville police responded quickly.
We’re in that area heavy anyway,” Dixon said.
Officer Thomas Riggins, who was nearby, responded and the men on the porch fled on foot, Dixon said. Riggins chased one man into a nearby wooded area.
It was the second man that Gillam encountered, Dixon said, just moments after he arrived.
Gillam met his fiancé at Virgil and Martin Luther King streets, determined that she was OK, and moved up Virgil Street where he saw the blue lights of Whiteville patrol cars. As he rolled to a stop, the second fleeing man jumped into the passenger seat, Dixon said.
“There’s some type of struggle,” Dixon said. “He’s shot.”
That part of the investigation has been taken over by the State Bureau of Investigation, Dixon said, which is typical for shootings involving law officers.
Gillam drove himself to Columbus Regional Healthcare, where he underwent “minor surgery,” Bolton Mayor Frank Wilson said. Gillam was released from the hospital late Wednesday night.
Gillam was hired as a police officer in Bolton about a year ago, Wilson said, paid through a federal grant. As other, more senior officers left for other jobs, Gillam “was the last man standing,” Wilson said.
Gillam is currently Bolton’s only police officer.
Riggins was able to capture the man he chased, Dixon said.
Thurmond Devone Jones, 19, of Pinewood Drive in Whiteville, was charged with resisting police.
While the shooting Wednesday night took place in the same area where multiple gunshots were fired early in the week, including one instance where 26 bullet holes were found in one home, Dixon said those incidents do not appear to be related.
“These are all isolated incidents,” Dixon said. “Very doubtful this ties in with anything.”
Police are aggressively investigating each of the shooting incidents, Dixon said.
By DEUCE NIVEN