Update: Arrest made in trooper’s death
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Law enforcement officers have charged Edwardo Wong II, 37, with first-degree murder in the death of Trooper David Blanton Jr.
Blanton stopped a vehicle towing a passenger car operated by Wong Tuesday night on I-40 in Haywood County.
An altercation occurred between Blanton and Wong and Blanton was fatally shot. Wong removed the trooper’s weapon and fled the scene. He was later caught by local law enforcement officials. Troopers and other law enforcement officials located narcotics and weapons in Wong’s vehicle.
Wong has an Ormond Beach, Fla., address and told officials he was traveling from Tennessee. He has a lengthy criminal record that includes convictions for felony assault on law enforcement officers, felony drug violations, felony possession of a firearm and others.
Wong is being held in the Haywood County Jail without bail.
“Incidents like this remind us of what dangerous profession law enforcement is. I ask all North Carolinians to say a prayer tonight on behalf of all our law enforcement families,” said Bryan E. Beatty, secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety.
“The patrol family has lost a member and the state of North Carolina has lost a dedicated public servant,” said Col. W. Fletcher Clay, commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
Blanton, 24, joined the N.C. Highway Patrol on May 11, 2006. His most recent assignment was to Haywood County.
Blanton is the 59th trooper to die in the line of duty since the formation of the Highway Patrol in 1929. He is the first trooper to be fatally assaulted since 1997.
Blanton grew up in Sylva, where he graduated from Smokey Mountain High School in 2002. His first Highway Patrol duty station was Waynesville.
Blanton leaves behind a wife and child.
Below is information on memorial funds established for trooper Blantonís family.
State Employees Credit Union
c/o Michaela Blanton
Acct. # 60460003
Champion Credit Union,
c/o Michaela Blanton
Arden, Canton, Clyde