On December 16, 2020, Officer Kyle Baker responded to a vehicle accident in a busy retail and dining corridor of the city. He located an unoccupied vehicle that had crashed into a guardrail. Officer Kaleb Robinson and a special agent from North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement arrived on the scene before leaving to patrol the area to try to locate the missing driver.
Moments later a motorist pulled up to Officer Baker and informed him that a man likely impaired on drugs or alcohol just tried to get into her vehicle. The motorist then provided Officer Baker with a physical description of the subject. Suspecting this subject was the missing driver of the crashed vehicle, Officer Baker relayed this new information over the police radio. By that time, Officers Jason Shuping and Paul Stackenwalt were patrolling the area, searching for the missing driver.
Within moments the special agent radioed that he saw the suspected driver at the Sonic restaurant. He and Officers Robinson and Shuping each pulled into the Sonic, exited their vehicles, and began approaching the subject. The special agent approached the subject from the front while Officers Robinson and Shuping approached from the rear. As the special agent moved closer to the subject and instructed him to remove his hands from his pockets, the subject suddenly produced a handgun and fired, luckily missing the special agent.
Officer Robinson drew his weapon and ran to find cover as the special agent also took cover. The subject spun around and began firing at Officer Robinson, striking him in the left hip. Officer Shuping drew his weapon without hesitation and bravely confronted the threat. His actions redirected the subject's attention away from Officer Robinson and toward himself. Officer Shuping fired several rounds as he advanced directly into danger in order to protect Officer Robinson while the subject returned fire. Officer Shuping stopped the ongoing assault by striking the subject multiple times, but during the exchange of gunfire, Officer Shuping sustained a fatal gunshot wound. This all happened in mere seconds.
Hearing the sounds of gunfire, Officer Baker ran down a steep embankment to the scene, arriving just after Officer Stackenwalt. Both officers observed Officer Shuping lying on the ground, gravely injured, with Officer Robinson on his knees rendering aid to him. In the seconds before the officers arrived, Officer Robinson, not realizing that he had been shot, moved from a position of cover and ran to the aid of Officer Shuping. While doing so, he spotted the wounded subject stagger across the parking lot and hold a woman at gunpoint as she sat in her car. Officer Robinson reacted, firing several rounds at the subject while shielding Officer Shuping with his own body. This distracted the subject long enough for the woman to drive away and escape. In an effort to either hide or attempt to flee the scene, the subject moved to an unoccupied parked vehicle, smashed the driver's side window, and entered the SUV.
Officer Robinson directed Officers Stackenwalt and Baker in the direction of where the subject had fled. The officers quickly located the subject inside the vehicle. With guns drawn, they methodically walked toward the vehicle without the aid of cover. They both commanded the subject to show his hands and surrender. The subject refused, quickly extended his arm outside of the door, and turned his gun in the direction of the officers. Officers Stackenwalt and Baker returned fire, striking and killing the subject.
Each officer acted courageously and decisively to engage this violent subject and quickly end the ongoing threat. Officer Shuping was fatally wounded during the incident, and Officer Robinson was transported from the scene and treated for his wounds.