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Trooper goes home to recover

Brandon McElderry, the Florida Highway Patrol trooper shot Wednesday morning during a traffic stop, went home Friday after two days at Tampa General Hospital.

"Now he can recover at home with his wife," FHP spokesman Trooper Larry Coggins said. "We're very happy."

McElderry was released from the hospital on the same day the man accused of shooting him had a charge of attempted murder added.

Darian Maurice Wright, 28, was already jailed on multiple felony charges stemming from Wednesday's confrontation.

According to the FHP, Wright shot McElderry in the right thigh with the trooper's department-issued gun following a violent struggle.

McElderry, 30, saw Wright driving with an expired tag and pulled him over at N 10th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Southeast Seminole Heights, Coggins said.

The FDLE is still investigating the circumstances leading up to the shooting. But according to Coggins, Wright took the trooper's .40-caliber Beretta and shot him with it as the two struggled in the 900 block of E North Bay Street.

McElderry managed to radio for help after he was shot and bitten on the cheek, Coggins said. A few minutes later, Tampa police officers arrested Wright a few blocks from where the trooper was shot.

Wright was initially booked into the county jail on charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery on an officer, obstructing an officer with violence, grand theft of a firearm, depriving an officer of the means to protect himself, fleeing police, armed carjacking, burglary of a structure, giving a false name to law enforcement and possession of cannabis.

Wright also was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in court last month. The court appearance was scheduled after Wright's October arrest on a charge of failing to report as a sex offender.

He is being held without bail in the county jail.

State prison records show Wright was convicted in 1996 of two cases of violence against law enforcement officers in Hillsborough County. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The sentence came five months after Wright was ordered to serve almost four years in prison on charges of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 16, prison records show.

Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or svansicklersptimes.com.

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