State trooper shot dead at traffic stop was still 'gasping for air' when citizen arrived and called 911

State trooper Kevin Conner, an 11-year veteran, was shot dead early Wednesday.

October 18, 2018, 1:33 PM

When a veteran North Carolina state trooper was shot while making a traffic stop, the first person on the scene was local resident Hilton Cox.

Cox, 33, was on his front porch when he heard gunshots just after midnight Wednesday, he told ABC affiliate WTVD in North Carolina.

Cox drove to a nearby store and that's when he saw a state trooper car and a man lying in the road, he said.

The man was Kevin Conner. He had stopped a pickup truck for speeding in Columbus County when the driver allegedly fired several shots at him and fled, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

PHOTO: An undated photo of North Carolina State Trooper Kevin Conner who was shot dead Oct. 17, 2018.
An undated photo of North Carolina State Trooper Kevin Conner who was shot dead Oct. 17, 2018.
NC Highway Patrol

Cox called 911 and went over to Conner, telling him that "Everything will be OK."

"He would make it through this," he told WTVD.

"A truck driver stopped -- turned out he worked with military EMTs. The trooper was still gasping for air," Cox said. "He was still breathing and still had a good pulse. Then the sheriff showed up."

Conner died from his injuries, leaving the highway patrol "mourning the loss of a hero," State Highway Patrol commander Colonel Glenn McNeill Jr. said in a statement.

The department "will forever be changed by the tragic events," he said. “We ask everyone to please keep Trooper Conner’s family and all who knew him in your thoughts and prayers.”

Cox said that he and Conner are both married fathers of two.

"I've seen him around, you know, small county," Cox said. "Everybody tells me he was a nice guy."

After the suspected shooter fled the scene, he led police on a car and foot chase, authorities said.

After an "extensive search," the suspect, identified as Raheem Cole Dashanell Davis, 20, was found and taken into custody without incident, authorities said.

He has been charged with first-degree murder, said Michael Baker of the state highway patrol.