1 on the loose, 1 in custody after drug deal gone wrong ends in shooting

1 on the loose, 1 in custody after drug deal gone wrong ends in shooting
Officials say 32-year-old Joshua Franklin Stewart (left) is wanted for armed robbery as well as a probation violation, while 21-year-old Elijah Tyler Thorne (right) is facing charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill. (Source: Union County Sheriff's Office)

UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - One man is in custody and a second is on the loose after a drug deal went wrong and ended in an armed robbery and shooting in Union County Thursday night.

Officials say 32-year-old Joshua Franklin Stewart is wanted for armed robbery as well as a probation violation, while 21-year-old Elijah Tyler Thorne is facing charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill.

According to the Union County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were dispatched to a home in Lake Park Thursday around 9 p.m. in reference to an assault.

Upon arrival, deputies discovered a male and female. The male reported that his girlfriend drove him to a home on Indian Trail Fairview Road where he was supposed to buy marijuana from Josh Stewart.

The male was reportedly told to come inside the home and once inside, Stewart’s step-brother, Thorne, confronted him with a gun about an incident between the male and Stewart that happened while both were in prison together.

Deputies say the male victim stated that Stewart and Thorne robbed him of his money and told him to leave. As the male was walking back to the car, he heard gunshots. One of the gunshots grazed him in the arm and the car was hit several times.

The male and female victims drove back to a relative’s home in Lake Park and reported the incident to police. The male victim was treated on scene by EMS but did not suffer serious injuries.

Detectives assisted deputies in processing the vehicle and the scene of the shooting. North Carolina Probation and Parole Officers assisted deputies and K-9 officers to try and find Stewart, who is believed to have fled into a wooded area.

Stewart was released from prison in March 2019 after serving several years for convictions of robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Deputies are asking anyone who knows Stewart’s whereabouts to call 911.

Anyone with information about criminal activity are encouraged to call Union County Sheriff’s Office at 704-283-3789 or Union County Crimestoppers at 704-283-5600.

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