Article from The Robesonian News

                     By Dennis Watts

Articles and Testimonials

Comments From Trooper Ronnie Holland

Hello Harry, I hope you are doing well. I have to admit that your videos are, to say the least, chilling!! I was not aware you had produced these but I am glad you did and I think you are doing a great service by sharing these with the law enforcement community. It really was chilling to hear you talk about the shootings that occurred so soon after we got out of Patrol School including and especially yours since it was so close to home so to speak because I "knew' you!! I don't remember knowing the exact location your incident occurred until watching your video. I drive that road about twice a month going to the beach. The next trip will be a lot different as I go by that location. I will certainly be thinking about you and your brush with death from now on. It seemed like a lot of tragic events happened so close together after we graduated. In May 1975 I was in training when my training officer and I arrived at a wreck scene in Forsyth County and I was introduced to two Sheriff's Deputies who were standing by waiting for our arrival. One was a Capt. with the Reserves. They received word a Davie County deputy had been shot and killed and they immediately left. We never got out of our car and took off to the Davie Co. scene. The two deputies I just met earlier spotted the suspect vehicle in Forsyth Co., gave chase and stopped it in Davie Co. As the Reserve Captain exited the vehicle he was shot in the head with a rifle. We arrived just seconds after the shooting and I took cover next to our Patrol Car. As I was squatted down next to the right rear tire with my 357 drawn, I looked and less than 3 feet from me was the body of the man I had just met no more than 15 minutes earlier with half his head blown off. So you are right, you never know!!!! Thanks for the friend request and thank you for you great work. I left the Highway Patrol in 1984 to seek my fame and fortune working for my brother who was a very successful businessman in Pennsylvania. After living there five years I moved back to Forsyth County and opened my own business. After 5 years I sold it went back through BLET at the ripe old age of 45! I worked with the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office in Patrol and Criminal Investigation until retiring in 2010. I still work with them part-time currently in the Civil Division. I think I am about to "hang it up for good" though. Thanks again. Take Care.

To: BLET Program Directors, Coordinators and Training Centers
From: Mike Humphrey, Program Coordinator    Robeson CC
Subject: Guest Speaker

I wanted to introduce you to Harry Stegall that has been out guest instructor on several occasions at RCC. He was scheduled to correlate his experience as a North Carolina Highway Patrolman being shot 7 times on duty with our traffic stop curriculum.

I am attaching a link to a You Tube video that will give you an idea of his message but only touches a portion of his overall presentation. He does not charge for his time and will captivate the audience for a full hour.

The class evaluation after his presentation was that every BLET student should hear his story. He has spoken at the highway patrol training center and is scheduled for the next two schools there. Even if you have already passed the vehicle stop curriculum, we strongly suggest that you consider an invitation as a reality check for the students.

Please call me with any questions at 910 740-6399. You may call Harry at 704 577-3830 directly anytime you choose. Again, I believe that you will find his message not only meaningful but inspirational. 

Sometimes a job is just a job. Then again sometimes a job is more than just a job. Sometimes a job is a calling. Such is the case for those who choose law enforcement as a career. Should anyone doubt that, spending five minutes with Harry Stegall should erase any misgivings.

Harry Stegall was a rookie highway patrolman when he was shot seven times during what started as a routine traffic stop on U.S. Highway 74 near Laurinburg in October of 1975.

Now Stegall spends part of his time speaking to law enforcement trainees hoping that they can benefit from his experience. He and Robeson Community College Law Enforcement instructor and former highway patrolman Mike Humphrey recently conducted a class on traffic stops at the highway patrol school in Raleigh, which led to Humphrey to invite Stegall to the campus of Robeson Community College this past week to speak to trainees in Robeson’s Basic Law Enforcement Training class.

Stegall had spent several years working for security companies prior to joining the highway patrol in January of 1975, so though less than a year on the job, he was not in unfamiliar territory in dealing with conflict.

Stegall is fond of telling officers that he knows they think “it” -- getting shot -- won’t happen to them, because he thought the same thing 40 years ago. He says at the time he thought, “I’m too big. I’m too fast. I’m too smart to get shot.”

Now he tells trainees, “When you least expect it, you may be shot and killed.” He further admonishes them, “You need to remove the word ‘routine’ from your vocabulary. There is no routine in police work.” And then he offers his case in point.

At approximately 8:20 am on October 17, 1975, Stegall’s radar clocked in on a driver at 64 mph on highway 74. The speed limit at the time was 55. Stegall reset the radar and the radar locked in at 65, so Stegall pulled in behind the driver and hit his blue light. Had the driver decelerated prior to that, Stegall says he would not have been shot because he would have let the driver go.

Stegall says there were several clues that things were not right about the situation. Clues he now recognizes that were not talked about in training at the time. Clues such as the driver staring at him as he passed, a delay in stopping once signaled by the blue light, and pulling off the road to the left as opposed to the right when he finally did stop on an exit ramp.

As he approached the car Stegall did not know that Gregory Hudson Jones was a fugitive who had shot 4 other people in 3 separate incidents recently. The events were so recent that word had not gotten out. Stegall explained to Jones that because he had a Georgia license he would have to appear before a magistrate and post bond. He asked Jones to follow him to the magistrate’s office.

Stegall recounts that as he turned away to return to his vehicle Jones said, “Hey.” As Stegall turned back to face Jones, Jones fired a .380 pistol hitting Stegall four times in the chest and once in the neck.

Stegall explains that at this point the situation changed from one of officer safety to one of  officer survival. In a survival situation the “will to live” becomes important for the officer according to Stegall. The officer must do what is necessary to survive.

Stegall kept his wits enough to toss Jones’ license into nearby weeds in attempt to help whoever might investigate the scene to identify Stegall’s attacker. Unfortunately, Stegall adds, Jones was smart enough to get out of his vehicle and retrieve his license and he shot Stegall twice more in the process, emptying his .380. Jones then pulled Stegall’s .357 service weapon and pointed it at Stegall, but before he could fire, another car exiting the highway spooked him and Jones jumped in his car and fled.

Another passerby stopped and attempted to help Stegall, but due in part to panic at what he had seen, was unable to operate the patrol car radio. Instead he jumped back into his car and drove to a nearby convenience store call for help. Meanwhile, Stegall, who was unable to get up, pushed himself to the patrol car with his legs and, prior to losing consciousness, was able to call in that he had been shot.

Rescue squad took him to the local hospital where he was ultimately airlifted to Chapel Hill and obviously survived. Gregory Hutchins Jones is now serving a life sentence in prison and Harry Stegall has dedicated part of his life to trying to make sure other officers are more prepared for such an event than he was. Officer trainees at Robeson Community College are certainly better prepared having heard Officer Stegall’s story.

If you are interested in state-of-the-art training in law enforcement from highly experienced professionals, contact Robeson’s Law Enforcement Training center at 910-272-3480 or by email at


                             Reviews From Robeson Community College BLET      4/14/15

"Excellent Speaker. He should share his experiences with all BLET classes. It gives you a reality check on the career we are about to begin."

"Excellent presentation"

"I Highly suggest he comes back to all BLET classes to do this presentation. A great learning experience! A great Instructor!"

"Great Speaker Very motivational"

"Sad story, great speaker"

"Awsome job and very professional"

"Great instructor and motivational speaker"

"Great job"

"This needs to be formally incorporated in the state mandated rules"

Excellent! Mr. Stegall articulated the events in such a way that it intoxicated the audience. Very good motivational speaker. A sobering and realistic speaker"


"The instructors ability to articulate and bring his work experience and place you in that situation"