Trooper Kevin K. Conner was an 11-year veteran of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
CNN  — 

A North Carolina state trooper was fatally shot early Wednesday during a traffic stop in Columbus County, and a suspect is in police custody, authorities said.

Trooper Kevin K. Conner died after being shot around 12:15 a.m. near the community of Williams, a few miles from the South Carolina state line, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety said.

The incident began when Conner pulled over a driver of a pickup truck for speeding. The driver fired several shots, hitting the trooper, who died after being transported to a hospital, the department said.

The motorist drove to nearby Fair Bluff and led local police on a brief vehicle chase, the department said. After his truck became disabled while trying to cross a railroad crossing, the driver fled on foot. Police eventually found the suspect and placed him into custody, the department said.

The suspect’s name and information about a possible motive weren’t immediately available.

“The Highway Patrol family is mourning the loss of a hero and will forever be changed by the tragic events that have occurred,” the State Highway Patrol’s commander, Col. Glenn McNeill Jr., said in a news release. “We ask everyone to please keep Trooper Conner’s family and all who knew him in your thoughts and prayers.