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Police Officers' Wounds Treated

March 20, 2002

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Police Officers' Wounds Treated

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by Christina DeNardo, Fayetteville Online Local News

When Officers Kemberle Braden and Ron Campbell entered a Bonnie Doone home early Wednesday to execute a search warrant, bullets were flying through the wall, investigators said.

Braden's bulletproof vest absorbed two shots to his chest, but two bullets pierced his stomach and arm, Lt. Richard Bryant said. One ricocheted and hit Campbell in the leg. Both officers returned fire, and a 15-year- old boy inside the house suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, investigators said.

Braden, who is 28, was in stable condition at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center on Wednesday. His injuries are not considered life-threatening, said Sgt. Alex Thompson. Campbell, who is 31, was treated and released from Cape Fear Valley Medical Center early Wednesday. The 15-year-old was also treated and released.

Police have charged the teen-ager with shooting at the officers and possession of a handgun by a minor. His name was not released because of his age. He is being held in the Cumberland County Juvenile Detention Center. Investigators said they also want to question two men in connection with the shooting, but no charges have been filed against them.

"The (shooter) was shooting through the wall," said Lt. Richard Bryant. "Braden had no idea where the bullets were coming from or who was shooting him."

At the house at 5016 Collins St. where the shooting occurred, police charged two men with drug offenses. Police said they are not suspects in the shooting. Reginald Hudson, who is 45 and lives in the house, was charged with possession of cocaine and maintaining a dwelling for the use, storage or sale of narcotics. His bail was set at $15,000.

Keith Wayne Holt, who is 45 and lives on the 1000 block of Streamway Drive in Spring Lake, was charged with possession of cocaine and resisting an officer. His bail was set at $10,000. Both men remained in Cumberland County Jail Wednesday.

At the house

The shooting happened shortly after midnight Wednesday. Police said an anonymous tip had led to surveillance of the residence as a possible drug house, according to an affidavit with the search warrant.

Six officers, dressed in bulletproof vests and carrying semi- automatic rifles as well as handguns, entered the house, police said. Four others were outside. Braden's brother, a state trooper from another state, was sitting in a white unmarked police van parked next to the house. He was doing a ride-a-long with his brother, according to police.

Investigators said that Braden was the first officer to enter the home, and Campbell was second. After Braden was hit, he used a bed in the living room as cover and returned fire.

Several police cars converged on the area, and officers cordoned off the scene with yellow tape. Neighbors said they heard more than a dozen shots coming from the house. It was unclear who fired the shots that hit Braden, Campbell or the teen-ager.

Police and agents with the State Bureau of Investigation continued to collect evidence at the house Wednesday, and a police dog searched the area.

Thompson said police found one gun inside the house, but he declined to specify the type. Any evidence collected will be sent to the SBI crime lab in Raleigh, SBI criminal specialist Jay Tilley said.

Special projects unit

Braden and Campbell are members of the department special projects unit. Chief Tom McCarthy created the unit in January to handle neighborhood-specific problems. The unit's two teams, one from each police
district, are made up of a lieutenant, a sergeant and five officers. Capt. Brad Chandler, district commander for the Cross Creek district, said there was a lot of competition to work on the unit.

Police said the unit has had a positive effect and has allowed them to respond quickly to complaints from residents. For example, in its first seven days, the unit's officers issued 40 warrants, 19 for felonies. They seized 53 grams of narcotics and more than $20,000 in cash.

Previous position

Before moving to the special projects unit, Braden had worked as a patrol officer and in the narcotics division. He has been on the force for six years.

Lt. Richard Bryant, head of the city's narcotics division, has known Braden for three years. He considered Braden when he was up for a narcotics job.

"I was really impressed with him," said Bryant. "But I was concerned that he wouldn't be able to buy drugs because he looked like a poster boy for the Police Department."

Braden filled his role as a narcotics investigator well, said his supervisors and colleagues.

"Narcotics investigators have to put on this act, and when the deal is over, they go back to reality," said Bryant. "He is really good at that."

One investigator remembers Braden dyeing his hair blond and orange and wearing an earring to fit in. He had to dye his hair back to black when he was chosen for the special projects unit.

Braden was also a good friend of Officer Roy Turner, who was shot to death Nov. 29. Quintel Martinez Augustine, who is 24, has been charged with first-degree murder in Turner's death.

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