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By Elisha Fieldstadt

North Carolina authorities were searching Saturday for a suspect who shot and critically wounded a police officer early in the morning.

Police in Shelby, about 50 miles west of Charlotte, were asking the public for information on the whereabouts of Irving Lucien Fenner, Jr., 23, who is accused of shooting Officer Tim Brackeen, 38, at about 12:20 a.m. Fenner is wanted on a count of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

Irving Lucien Fenner, Jr.Shelby Police Department

Brackeen was searching for a suspect who had outstanding warrants against him when he was shot, the Shelby Police Department said in a statement. He was taken to Cleveland Regional Medical Center and then transferred to to Carolinas Medical Center, the statement said.

Police said Brackeen's condition is stable but critical, but a statement released by the police department on behalf of his mother, Phyllis Brackeen, said he isn't showing brain function. According to NBC affiliate WNCN, Brackeen was shot in the torso, despite having protection from a bullet-proof vest.

Shelby Officer Tim Brackeen.Shelby Police Department

"He has several serious hurdles ahead, but right now, we are praying that God would do the miraculous again and restore his brain function," Phyllis Brackeen wrote on Facebook.

Police said Fenner's last known address was in Grover, a town about 11 miles southeast of Shelby.

Police did not release any other details in the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation.

Brackeen, a K-9 officer, is a 12-year veteran of the Shelby Police Department. He is married and has a daughter, the department said.