The man charged with attempted murder in the shooting of a Kernersville police officer on Sunday is a patient in a hospital, although officers say he was not injured in his arrest.
Quinton Donnell Blocker, charged in the shooting of Kernersville police officer Sean Houle, made his first court appearance on Monday at the hospital, but officials have not disclosed anything about Blocker's health or why he was taken to the hospital.
Meanwhile, townspeople in Kernersville are showing their support for Houle, even as they deal with the shock of learning that he was shot three times with his own gun.
Kernersville police said Houle remained in critical condition at a local hospital on Monday. He was shot in the face, arm and hand.
"We are hopeful that he will be able to pull through," said Officer Blake Jones, speaking for the Kernersville Police Department.
Curtis Swisher, the former Kernersville mayor and currently manager of the town, called the shooting of Houle "a blow to everybody in the community."
"I've been involved with the town since '97, and we have had an officer responding to a call who got in a car wreck and was injured badly, but we have not had an incident like this in 23 years," Swisher said. "In a town like Kernersville, we have been fortunate not to have too many of these and not every often. Officer Houle is well-known and well-liked by folks in the community, as are all our officers."
Jail records indicated that Blocker was at a hospital Monday night. The hospital was not identified.
An official with the Forsyth County Clerk of Court's office said Monday afternoon that all the paperwork in Blocker's case had been taken to a hospital for a first appearance hearing, which was moved up to Monday from Tuesday.
The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Blocker's first appearance was held Monday, but would not comment on the location of the hearing.
Kernersville police said Blocker was uninjured during his arrest on Sunday, and that Blocker was placed in the Forsyth County Jail that day.
Blocker was charged with attempted first-degree murder, felony assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Kernersville police said the shooting took place about 3:30 a.m. Sunday at Century Square Apartments off South Main Street in Kernersville.
Reports showed that Houle encountered Blocker, who he had seen earlier in the day when Blocker ran from a traffic stop. Police didn't provide more details about what happened during the early-Sunday encounter between the two men, other than that Houle was shot with his own gun.
Blocker was arrested later Sunday morning. His bond was set at $1 million.
Houle is a K-9 officer with the Kernersville Police Department and formerly worked for the Winston-Salem Police Department.
Taylor Thornton of Kernersville, who got to know Houle when she did some ride-alongs with the officer when she worked for the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce, called Houle "the most dedicated police officer I think I have ever met."
"You talk a lot when you spend 12 hours in a car with someone," she said. "He talked all the time about how much he loved his wife, and was so proud to be her husband. He thinks that's the best thing he ever did. Whenever he wasn't on a call or working, he was showing his pictures."
Thornton decided she would start accepting donations of items so that snack bags can be put together and handed out to members of the Kernersville Police Department, just so officers know townspeople care about them.
"Include handwritten notes or encouraging words," she wrote on Facebook as she appealed for donations. She said people who want to take part can call her directly at 336-416-5405 or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We can use protein bars or shakes, anything an officer can grab quickly and go to work," she said, "The response has been overwhelming."
T.J. Small and his wife Heather decided they would donate 10% of their profits from the family auto-repair business, Twin City Automotive on Silas Creek Parkway, to the Houle family through March 26.
T.J. Small said his wife works with Houle's wife, Ellie, at Novant Health.
"We spent most of yesterday hearing about an officer being shot, worrying about who it was," he said. "Then we learned our worst fears. We know she (Ellie Houle) has two small kids, and we wanted to do anything we could do to help."
The four Subway restaurants in Kernersville said they would donate at least 20% of sales to Houle and his family from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday. And other businesses appeared to be getting involved as well.
A local business, Local Roots Coffee Bar, said it was working with a local microbrewery, Gypsy-Road Brewing Co., to organize a fundraiser for the Houle family. Local Roots announced its own fundraiser Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Christi Irby said on her Facebook page that she is a co-worker of Houle's wife and would be selling T-shirts through Feb. 27 with the Houle name on it as a way to raise money for the family. Irby said her Facebook page is the easiest way to connect and make an order.
Kernersville Mayor Dawn Morgan said the hearts of everyone in the town are going out to Houle and his family.
And not just in Kernersville: The Lewisville and Oak Ridge fire departments were telling people on Facebook to keep the injured officer in their prayers, since Houle had formerly worked for both departments.