By Eric Eganeegan@abcnews4.com
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCIV) -- The man who shot a North Charleston police officer Wednesday morning is still a free man.
According to police, the officer went to 'check out' the suspect along Rivers Avenue. Authorities say the man then shot the officer and despite an aggressive attempt to track the shooter, it's been unsuccessful.
The shooting happened around 5 a.m., but throughout the day investigators, including SLED teams, set up camp in the Carpet Wholesalers parking lot on Rivers Avenue. Yellow police tape blocked off a small area next to the business where the officer was shot. Police say the bullet hit the victim in the lower part of his protective vest.
It's the second incident of its kind since January. That's when North Charleston officer David Winslette was shot twice, once in the side of his chest and again in his leg. At the time he was patrolling for an armed robbery.
"We all want to believe it can never happen to us, but there's always the possibility it could happen." Winslette said.
The protective vest Winslette was wearing is the reason he's still alive.
"I'm extremely thankful," he said. "Had I not had my vest, doctors and EMT's said it would have been less than a minute."
The shootings with police impact the entire community. Donnell Mazyck is a shooting victim who lives nearby. While near the scene Wednesday, he showed off a gunshot wound in his arm.
The violence, he says, makes him want to relocate.
"Move back to my country, I'm not from Charleston, I'm from Atlanta," said Mazyck. "Charleston is alright, but if I get a chance to move out I would do it. I can't avoid it, the stuff that happens, you know?"
And it's now happening to North Charleston police at an increasing rate.
According to the CPD, Sergeant Eddie Bullard, a 15 year veteran of the department, was the officer shot. His injuries are not considered to be life threatening. He was taken to a local hospital Wednesday morning and treated for those injuries.
Following the shooting, police also set up checkpoints along Rivers, stopping cars in hopes to find the suspect.