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Trooper Daniel Harrell, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, North Carolina

2019 State and Local Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Recipient

On January 14, 2019, Trooper Daniel Harrell was completing a traffic stop when he observed a vehicle traveling northbound on US 301 that was improperly towing another vehicle. He caught up with these vehicles, intending to conduct a traffic stop. He activated his lights and siren, and the violator slowly turned onto Beauvue Road before pulling over to the shoulder.

Trooper Harrell made contact with the driver of the vehicle being towed and then the driver of the front vehicle, and informed them of the reason for the stop. He noticed that there was also a passenger in the front vehicle. Neither driver had a license or any other form of identification. As Trooper Harrell spoke with the driver of the front vehicle, that driver suddenly drove off. Trooper Harrell returned to his vehicle and advised the Communications Center that he was in a chase.

The violator traveled a short distance down the road before pulling to the shoulder again. As Trooper Harrell was preparing to exit his vehicle, the driver leaned out of his vehicle and opened fire. The assailant fired approximately four shots striking Trooper Harrell twice—once in the forehead and once in the cheek. Trooper Harrell immediately returned fire, and the violator drove off again as the passenger jumped out of the vehicle and lay on the ground.

Although wounded in the face and bleeding profusely, Trooper Harrell did not hesitate to continue chasing the assailant who drove a short distance again and exited the vehicle to disconnect the towed vehicle. Trooper Harrell stopped a safe distance behind and engaged the assailant with gunfire before the assailant drove off. Trooper Harrell continued the chase and kept giving vital information to the Communications Center. The chase continued for a short distance before the assailant made a U-turn and collided head on with Trooper Harrell’s vehicle, disabling it. Trooper Harrell returned gunfire again before the assailant drove away and subsequently fled on foot.

Thanks to the description that Trooper Harrell provided, the involved persons were located and arrested the night of the incident and no one else was injured. Trooper Harrell was subsequently transported to a medical center where he underwent surgery.

Trooper Harrell acted courageously as he responded to the unprovoked assault, and, although wounded, he remained in the fight and was able to provide critical information that helped lead to the arrest of the suspects.

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