LINCOLNTON, N.C. (WBTV) – A man shot by an officer after ramming a stolen National Guard armory vehicle into squad vehicles in Lincolnton Saturday has been identified by police as 32-year-old Brian Samuel Brittain.
Police said the shooting happened on Salem Church Road and East Main Street in Lincolnton.
According to police, an officer attempted to stop a vehicle around 4:30 a.m. for driving erratically and having no lights on. Police later confirmed the Military Humvee was stolen from the National Guard armory on N. Aspen Street.
The suspect, later identified as Brittain, refused to stop for police and a short chase ensued. During that chase, Brittain ran into another police cruiser, then placed the car in reverse and starting backing toward the pursuing officer’s car.
At some point, the pursuing officer fired at least one shot and Brittain drove away from the scene. Brittain abandoned the Humvee and got into another vehicle. The driver of that vehicle told deputies that Brittain had been shot. He was airlifted to a hospital in Charlotte and is expected to be released Monday.
Gary Rudisill lives close to where the shooting happened.
“I went out and saw all the cop cars at the stoplight, and I seen one of them was crashed. I thought maybe run the red light and ran into a cop,” Rudisill said. “This is too close to home for incidents like that to be happening.”
On Monday, the front window of the National Guard armory was still busted open, and the gate to get to the parking lot was still bent.
Staff Sgt. Matthew Craig said Brittain broke in through the front window, walked through the building, then went to the parking lot, stealing the Humvee.
“You obviously think the worst, then you get a reassessment of the situation, and figure out what actually happened,” Craig said.
Brittain faces multiple charges of felony breaking and entering, felony larceny of a vehicle, felony fleeing to elude, felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and felony possession of stolen goods, among other pending charges.
This is not Brittain’s first run-in with the law. According to court documents, he was charged with murder in 2010 after shooting and killing his stepfather. He was indicted by a grand jury on a voluntary manslaughter charge.
Brittain claimed he was acting in self-defense. In November 2011, the case was dismissed.
The area near Salem Church Road was for a time closed as crime scene investigators worked to gather evidence.
The officer that was struck by the suspect’s vehicle was taken to the hospital and released.
The officer involved in the shooting, Thomas Hall, was placed on administrative leave with pay as the investigation continues. He has been with the department since Oct. 2015.
The SBI is assisting in the investigation.