Trooper shot to death during stop

A 24-year-old N.C. Highway Patrol trooper who became a father for the first time two weeks ago was shot and killed Tuesday night while making a traffic stop on Interstate 40 west of Asheville.

A Florida man was arrested a short time after the shooting and charged with murder.

Trooper David Blanton Jr., who joined the Highway Patrol in May 2006, died at an Asheville hospital after being shot twice by a motorist he had pulled over, police say.

Officials say he is the first N.C. trooper killed in the line of duty in 11 years.

Edwardo Wong II, 37, a Florida resident with a long criminal record, was arrested a few miles from the shooting site. Court records indicate the suspect also fired on Haywood County sheriff's deputies who were trying to arrest him.

Lt. Everett Clendenin, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol, said Blanton had stopped a 1996 GMC truck that was towing a car in the eastbound lane of I-40 about 10:20 p.m. Tuesday.Wong, of Ormond Beach, Fla., was charged with first-degree murder and had an initial court hearing Wednesday afternoon. A probable cause hearing was scheduled for July 9. Wong is being held without bond.

Police found narcotics and weapons in Wong's truck, Clendenin said.