Following an hours-long search Tuesday morning, a 20-year-old man was taken into custody after police say he fired shots at a Highway Patrol trooper, crashed a stolen SUV and ran into the woods in Orange County.
Tyler Lloyd Grantz of Kernersville was apprehended before noon near Blackwood Mountain Road, according to N.C. Highway Patrol spokesman First Sgt. Michael Baker.
Grantz has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault on a law enforcement officer with a weapon and discharging a weapon into a moving vehicle, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. He was being held under under a $1 million bond.
Grantz was traveling more than 98 mph in a stolen SUV on Interstate 40/85 when a trooper tried to pull him over about 2 a.m., according to the Highway Patrol and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The speed limit in that area is 65 mph.
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“The driver of the SUV failed to stop for the trooper, initiating a pursuit,” Baker said. “During the pursuit, the driver of the SUV fired multiple shots at the trooper’s vehicle.”
The chase ended at I-40 and New Hope Church Road, where the SUV went down an embankment and the driver ran away, Baker said.
The trooper wasn’t injured, but the patrol vehicle was struck, Highway Patrol Sgt. Chris Knox said during a news conference.
“If there’s any kind of silver lining, it’s that it happened in the early morning,” he said.
The Highway Patrol and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office worked with local schools to take precautions while the suspect was on the loose, Knox said. Law enforcement escorted some school buses, and four nearby schools were placed on a “soft lockdown,” in which they operated on a normal schedule with a heightened police presence.
“There was never any direct threat to students,” Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said in a news release “But the safety of our children is always our top priority.”
An Orange County sheriff’s deputy injured his ankle while chasing Grantz through the woods, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
Investigators believe Grantz was passing through Orange County on Tuesday and likely didn’t know the wooded area where he was found. Knox would not say if Grantz was armed when he was taken into custody.
“He was not remorseful,” Knox said. “He was very boastful of his actions this morning.”
Knox said the trooper who was shot at wanted to help in the search, but his colleagues encouraged him to get some rest.
“He tried to save the life of someone who was speeding,” Knox said, “and it turned into a life-or-death situation for our member.”