Trooper wounded in fatal shooting recovering - WSMV News 4

Trooper wounded in fatal shooting recovering

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Trooper Dwayne Stanford Trooper Dwayne Stanford
LEXINGTON, TN (WSMV-AP) -

A state trooper who shot and killed a man who shot and wounded him first may be out of the hospital soon.
  
Safety Department spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals told The Associated Press on Thursday that Trooper Dwayne Stanford, 27, is doing well and is expected to be released from the hospital later in the day.
  
Officials say Stanford pulled over a car on westbound Interstate 40 Wednesday evening because the vehicle fit the description of one carrying a suspect in another case.
  
Stanford placed the woman, Christi Pepper, 47, of Cadiz, Ky., under arrest, took her to his cruiser and was then shot by a man in the car. The trooper then returned fire.
  
Stanford was shot in the chest, but was wearing a bulletproof vest that prevented further injury.
 
Kristin Helm, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, identified the man as 59-year-old Robert Cunningham Jr.

Shot trooper was 'Trooper of the Year' in 2010

Stanford earned the 2010 Trooper of the Year honor for locating a juvenile who was kidnapped from Maryland within 20 minutes of an AMBER Alert notification.  He arrested the suspect without incident and preserved potential evidence in the case.  Stanford was also recognized in 2010 as one of the top 10 Troopers in DUI Enforcement with 30 arrests.

"Our state troopers face dangers every day, especially during traffic stops. Trooper Stanford's experience on I-40 is an unfortunate reminder of that," Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said in a news release. "Our state troopers are Tennessee's finest. When citizens encounter state troopers, I hope they will take just a moment to thank them for their public service, courage, and sacrifice."

"Trooper Stanford is one of our best and brightest troopers on the road. He is well respected by his peers and the command staff. His training and experience helped save his life," Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott said in a news release.

Stanford joined the Department of Safety and Homeland Security in 2002 as a Communications Dispatcher and was later commissioned as a State Trooper in 2007. His initial assignment was as a Road Trooper in Fayette County until being transferred to Henderson County in the Jackson District in 2008.

Copyright 2011 WSMV. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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