DOBSON, N.C. - A Dobson police officer was shot twice while responding to a call early Monday morning, and investigators say the suspect was killed in return gunfire.
Officer Brian Thomas was shot in the ankle and thigh after responding to a call at 1:08 a.m. at 412 Adams St. Thomas, who was shot at close range, is in stable condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, investigators said.
“Officer Thomas was extremely lucky,” said Ofc. J. Gillespie with Dobson Police. “I don’t believe that the body armor would even slow down a round of the nature. It’s extremely powerful, and at extremely close range, there’s a lot of good fortune that it was not more severe than it was.”
The suspected shooter, Lonnie Badgett, 51, was pronounced dead at the scene from gunshot wounds after officers returned fire, according to a spokesperson for the Dobson Police Department.
Thomas and Sgt. Wayne Banks from the Surry County Sheriff’s Office had responded to the home after Lonnie Badgett’s wife, Lessa Badgett, sounded “frantic” while calling 911, investigators said.
Officers found Lessa with a “traumatic” wound to her head when they arrived, investigators said. As the first responders were talking with her and taking her to a more secure location, Lonnie Badgett came to the front door holding a handgun, investigators said.
Officers told Lonnie to put the gun down, but he started firing it instead, investigators said. Lonnie briefly stopped firing at one point but returned with a second weapon, a semiautomatic rifle, investigators said.
Banks wasn’t injured in the incident.
Lessa was taken to Northern Hospital of Surry County for treatment of her injuries, as well as questioning, investigators said. Lessa returned home later Monday morning, but she didn’t want to talk with reporters.
A motive hasn’t been determined yet. The SBI has joined Surry County deputies and Dobson police in the investigation.
Lonnie’s stepdaughter said his behavior Monday morning was out of character, and surprised her greatly. She said Lonnie had a great relationship with his mother.
Thomas has worked for the Dobson Police Department for nearly four years.