Deadly chase started in Duplin
By Lee Williams
Published in News on May 23, 2007 1:45 PM
An alleged convenience store robber who led authorities on a chase along I-40 West from Duplin to Wake County Tuesday was fatally shot when he opened his door and waved a gun at the approaching officers.
Stephen Ryan Gibson, 23, of Raleigh, allegedly robbed a BP gas station on Brinson Road in Magnolia and escaped in a Chrysler 300.
A Duplin County Sheriff's deputy gave chase at about 10:30 a.m., and other law enforcement officers joined in. The chase continued through Sampson and Johnston counties and ended in Wake County, said 1st Sgt. Steve Greene, a Highway Patrol spokesman.
Stop-sticks often used to deflate a fleeing suspect's tires were deployed at mile markers 312 and 308, but to no avail. Stop-sticks deployed at mile marker 301, however, flattened Gibson's tires causing him to lose control -- and prompting a three-car accident.
Gibson's Chrysler crashed into the back of a 2003 Chevrolet driven by Judy Gillis Dibacco of Fayetteville.
Ms. Dibacco's Chevrolet spun around and was struck by a 1995 Dodge driven by Michael Henry Lynch of Raleigh.
Ms. Dibacco, her passenger, Sherry Dell Page of Raeford, Lynch and his passenger, Jeffrey D. McDonald of Raleigh, were not hurt, Greene said.
After Gibson's vehicle collided with Ms. Dibacco's Chevrolet, it came to rest on the right shoulder in the westbound lane.
Troopers approached the vehicle with their weapons drawn and noticed Gibson rummaging around in the vehicle.
That's when the ordeal took a grave turn.
"The suspect then opened the passenger side door exposing his upper torso and he was displaying a weapon," Greene said. "That is when shots were fired."
A Wake County sheriff's deputy and four troopers were among the officers who opened fire on Gibson, Greene said. It was unclear how many times Gibson was struck during the barrage of gunfire.
Gibson was transported to Wake Medical Center in Raleigh, where he later succumbed to his gunshot wounds.
According to officials, Gibson did not have a serious criminal history.
As is customary, troopers 1st Sgt. J.D. Henderson, D.C. Pate, L.B. Lovick and P.E. Holmes were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
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