LUMBERTON — The man who shot and wounded Lumberton Master Police Officer Marcus Norton on Sunday morning has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Police Chief Mike McNeill.
Victor Ronald Spearman, 22, shot himself in the head while hiding in a trash receptacle behind a home on East Third Street on Sunday morning, McNeill said, and died about 4:30 p.m. at an undisclosed hospital. He was rushed to Southeastern Medical Center by ambulance and was then transferred to the hospital.
Norton is at home recovering from a wound to the back of his left leg.
According to McNeill, police knew that Spearman was inside the trash bin and spent “several hours … trying to get him to put his gun down. Our negotiators were talking to him.”
Norton and a second officer had seen a man believed to be Spearman trying to break into Haywood Auto Sales on East Second Street at about 4:30 a.m., McNeill said. Spearman ran to the yard of a East Third Street home when the officers approached.
“They chased him over to a yard and he hid himself in the yard,” McNeill said.
The officers spotted Spearman behind some bushes in the yard, shots were fired, and Norton was struck in the leg at about 5 a.m., McNeill said. Spearman then hid inside the trash bin.
That began the standoff that lasted several hours after police cordoned off a 10-block area.
According to Spearman’s Facebook page, the Duplin County native attended Lumberton High School and later moved to Rose Hill, where he worked at House of Raeford, a poultry processing plant. He moved back to Lumberton when things “went south” and he “started getting into trouble,” according to his page.
A post on Spearman’s page says that he recently broke up with his girlfriend. This morning, there were several posts on his page expressing remorse at Spearman’s death, calling him a classmate and friend who “is gone too soon.”
Spearman was on probation in Duplin County for charges of a DWI and speeding to elude arrest in 2010, according to the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Spearman had previously faced charges of forgery, vandalism, larceny, and breaking and entering.
McNeill said the investigation has been handed over to the State Bureau of Investigation, which is standard procedure when a police officer has been shot.
“He is in a lot of pain, but basically doing fine,” Heather Norton said Monday about her husband. “He didn’t have to have surgery. The doctors felt it was better to leave the bullet in rather than risk complications.”
Norton, who is 32, lives in Laurel Hill in Scotland County and has been employed with Lumberton Police Department for seven years.
“My first reaction when I heard was anger,” said Heather Norton. “How could you not be upset when you find out that your husband has been shot? But now all I feel is sadness. The person involved is dead and even he is someone’s child. So it is a sad situation for everyone involved.”
Heather Norton, who works as a registered nurse at Scotland Memorial Hospital, said Master Police Officer Jeremiah Goodson’s shooting death on July 17 had weighed on her and her husband.
“In the back of your mind there is always that kind of fear, but when it happens so close to home, you really start to think,” she said. “Officer Goodson and my husband are about the same age and it just forces you to realize that it can happen to anyone and at anytime.”
Goodson was shot and killed at a service station off Fayetteville Road while trying to arrest a person who was wanted on several charges. Goodson, who was struck four times, had been off-duty when he saw the person and tried to make the arrest.
District Attorney Johnson Britt has said he would seek the death penalty for Marques Ramon Brown, 27, who has been charged with first-degree murder.
Goodson is survived by his wife Lametria, and the couple’s a newborn son and a 2-year-old daughter, and a 16-year-old adopted son. There are multiple efforts to raise money to help the Goodson family.
Laurinburg Exchange Editor Scott Witten contributed to this story.