Friday, October 21, 2016, at 11:50 a.m., as a Haywood County Sheriff’s Office detention officer was transporting two inmates to be housed in the Buncombe County Jail, the officer observed one of the inmates causing a disturbance in the transport vehicle near exit 31.
The officer stopped the vehicle to take care of the disturbance. As the car stopped, one of the inmates exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot. This inmate was quickly apprehended. As this was happening, a bystander stopped to assist the detention officer . The second inmate fled from the vehicle and carjacked the passerby’s vehicle and fled with a child inside.
The child was dropped off several miles later and the child is safe.
The carjacked vehicle was spotted by law enforcement several minutes later in the Bethel community. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but the inmate fled in the vehicle and a chase ensued.
Near the city limits of Waynesville, the Waynesville Police Department used stop sticks to flatten the front tires of the fleeing vehicle.
The inmate continued in the hijacked vehicle on US 276 toward Waynesville, then turned on to Main Street as Sheriff’s deputies and Waynesville Police officers continued to pursue the vehicle.
The inmate stopped and exited the vehicle on Main Street in the center of downtown Waynesville and displayed a gun. Deputies responded with gunfire.
The inmate was transported to an area hospital and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations is investigating this incident which is protocol for officer- involved shootings.
UPDATE 10/22/16 1:07pm
The inmate who was shot is Robert Edward Branning of Canton. The other inmate who was quickly apprehended was Joshua Phillips of Canton. Branning is in stable condition.
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