Burlington police credit 911 caller with quick arrest of shooting suspect

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Burlington police were able to arrest a suspected shooter within minutes of the crime and they say one 911 caller is what made the difference.

"We thank the citizen for doing that because that really helped us make a very, very quick apprehension of the suspect," said Asst. Chief Chris Verdeck.

According to police, 59-year-old Michael Thompson, of Gibsonville, first assaulted a woman and then shot a 32-year-old man in the legs.

Verdeck said the crime was not random. Police believe the suspected shooter and the shooting victim are both romantically interested in the woman who was assaulted.

The shooting happened Thursday evening near a playground that witnesses said was full of children at the time.

"The person that was doing the shooting had no remorse," witness Elton Woods said. "The children were running statically. They were screaming. They didn't know which way to go -- what to do."

Woods said the man who was shot then ran over to Woods, a taxi driver, and asked for a ride to the hospital. Woods said EMS arrived before he pulled away.

The 911 caller was able to provide police a detailed description of the suspect and his vehicle.

"Looks like a blue Chevy Caprice," he told dispatch. "Like an 80s model. He went on Hawkins Street toward Mebane Street."

Verdeck said getting detailed and prompt 911 calls like that in every crime would be a tremendous help to police.

"The quicker we get the call, the quicker we can get on the scene. And the quicker we're on the scene, the better the chances are of us making an apprehension," he said.

Both the woman assaulted and the man shot are expected to make full recoveries. Thompson was charged with assault on a female and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill.