Sherice Richardson hasn’t always been a fan of law enforcement. But she couldn’t drive past the smoking police car.
As WRAL reports, North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper Daniel Harrell was shot in the face and neck during a traffic stop Monday night near Elm City, North Carolina. Moments later, Richardson, a 28-year-old dialysis nurse, drove by.
Richardson later wrote that she was on her way to pick up her 1-year-old daughter from day care. She came around the curve, saw the blue lights of the police cruiser, and tapped the brakes. Her first reaction was to worry about being pulled over. Then she took a closer look at the car.
Frank Somerville of KTVU shared Richardson’s account on Facebook:
“This car was smoking with bullet holes in the windshield and I just couldn’t go past it despite my past judgement of law enforcement.”
Richardson got out of her car to check on the trooper. As soon as she saw how badly he was hurt, she called 911. She wrote:
The officer was bleeding from his face, and I knew I had to help him. I just had to stay with him until EMS arrived to take over.
Richardson and another bystander helped wrap up Harrell’s face and tried to stop the bleeding.
“He kept saying, ‘I’m hit, I’m hit,'” she told WFMY. “I assured him help was on the way.”
“This car was smoking with bullet holes in the windshield & I just couldn’t go past it despite my past judgement of law…
As she sat there with the wounded trooper, Richardson thought of her brother, who had been murdered in 2015. He had died alone in the street, and she couldn’t bear the thought of another family going through that same pain.
She also began to worry that whoever had shot Harrell might come back. So she began praying.
“I was kind of praying he would be OK,” she told WRAL. “I knew in my heart he would be.”
After paramedics arrived to take Harrell to the hospital, she took a photo of the wrecked police car and shared her story, saying it was a “life-changing experience.” She wrote:
This is somebody’s son, brother, dad, uncle, etc., and he didn’t deserve to be shot like this trying to do his job. […] I pray this man pulls through with a full recovery, and I pray they fry the man behind the gun.
Three men were later arrested and charged in connection to Harrell’s shooting. Bond for the man behind the gun was set at $1 million.
Richardson says that Harrell’s family reached out to thank her for staying with him. She told WFMY that the incident had opened her eyes to what police officers face and changed her outlook on law enforcement:
“There have been so many wonderful officers, current and retired, reaching out to me explaining their daily fears. Being human, I previously only saw that negative side of law enforcement. But I definitely support the ‘blue’ now and pray nothing but the best for them!”