Man pleads guilty to shooting trooper in Wilson County

Trooper Daniel Harrell was honored in 2021 by Senator Thom Tillis.
Trooper Daniel Harrell was honored in 2021 by Senator Thom Tillis.(WITN)
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 9:22 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2022 at 9:24 AM EDT
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ELM CITY, N.C. (WRAL) - A man will serve at least 34 years in prison for shooting a State Highway Patrol trooper in 2019.

WRAL says John Jones pled guilty to attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and two counts of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle inflicting serious injury in connection to the shooting of Trooper Daniel Harrell.

Jones was sentenced to a minimum of 34.4 years in prison. He was previously sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for possession of ammunition by a felon in the U.S. District Court.


Jones was initially pulled over for illegally towing a car on U.S. Highway 301, near Elm City. After the first stop, Jones pulled off before stopping his car again. That’s when Jones leaned out of the window of his car and shot four times at Harrell, according to the Eight Prosecutorial District of the North Carolina District Attorney’s Office.

Despite being shot, Harrell continued to follow Jones, the district attorney’s office said, and only stopped when Jones made a U-turn and rammed head-first into Harrell’s car, which disabled it.

Two other people were inside Jones’ car at the time of the shooting. The district attorney’s office said the two people jumped out of the car during the shooting and were not involved.

Jones was taken into custody after he was found in a field following a massive manhunt.

Harrell spent two days in the hospital following the shooting before finishing his recovery at home. He was presented with a Congressional Badge of Bravery in 2021 for his actions.

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