WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) – The grandfather of a North Carolina state trooper shot Monday night says he’s proud of his grandson and hopeful he’ll be able to return to work.
“Decisions have consequences. If they’d do more to people that do these things, it might be less often,” said T.C. Cherry.
Investigators say Trooper Daniel Harrell was shot in the neck and face in Wilson County during a traffic stop. They’ve charged John David Jones with several crimes, including assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill/inflict serious injury.
Cherry retired from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol in 1985.
His son-in-law, Sgt. L.C. Harrell, also retired from the highway patrol, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol Retiree’s Association.
That makes Trooper Daniel Harrell the third in the family to join the patrol, having been sworn in almost five years ago.
“I just thank the Lord that he didn’t get hurt no worse than he did,” said Cherry, as his grandson recovers at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. “In this day and age, you’ve got to be expecting it any time.”
Cherry first started working for the Highway Patrol in 1962, retiring in 1985. In that time, he says he didn’t worry about his safety on the job to the degree that he’s concerned about his grandson when he goes out on patrol.
“Conditions now are worse than they were 50 years ago. And, I don’t know what to blame that on,” said Cherry. “How many times do you have a news broadcast at six o’clock, and they’re talking about somebody in the United States shooting at the law? There’s just no respect no more.”
Cherry learned about his grandson’s interest in becoming a law enforcement officer when he was in high school.
“Right after he got on, people would say, ‘Did you try to talk him out of it?’ And, I said, ‘Heck no.' I didn’t want nobody to try to talk me out of it,” Cherry said. “I’m proud of him, and I hope he can get over this psychologically.”
On Monday night, Harrell was sitting up and speaking to family members as well as hospital staff.
Cherry said he heard from his daughter Tuesday morning that Harrell is in stable condition, and that doctors are optimistic he’ll recover.
Cherry hopes to make it to Greenville on Wednesday to see him and tell him “how lucky he was and how the Lord looked after him.”
9 On Your Side contributed to this report.