Trooper wounded in fatal shooting recovering

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - An award-winning state trooper who shot and killed a man who shot and wounded him first during a stop may be out of the hospital soon.

Safety Department spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals told The Associated Press on Thursday that Trooper Dwayne Stanford, 27, is doing well and expected to be released from the hospital later in the day.

Officials said Stanford pulled over a car on westbound I-40 Wednesday evening because the vehicle fit the description of one carrying a suspect in another case.

Stanford placed a woman under arrest, took her to his cruiser and was then shot by a man in the car. The trooper then returned fire.

The woman was not hurt.

Donnals said the trooper was shot in the chest but was wearing a bulletproof vest which apparently kept him from being more seriously hurt.

Kristin Helm, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which was also reviewing the shooting, identified the man as 59-year-old Robert Cunningham Jr. The woman's identity has not been released.

Stanford, who was once a dispatcher, has been a state trooper since 2007. He was named trooper of the year in 2010 for locating a suspect within 20 minutes, making an arrest and preserving potential evidence. He was also recognized for drunken driving enforcement with 30 arrests.

Donnals said Stanford has been relieved of duty with pay while the investigation continues.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)