Sheriff’s investigators say they were fired upon when they went to investigate possible bear poaching in the North Carolina mountains. One of three suspects was charged with felony first-degree attempted murder.
The shots were fired on Saturday night in an area known for poaching in Henderson County, the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook. The county is south of Asheville.
At about 8 p.m., deputies “were dispatched to the South Mills River Road area” after someone fired a gun from a truck in the road, according to sheriff’s investigators.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission also was contacted “due to concerns and a history of wildlife poaching in that area,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook.
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Deputies said they found “an unoccupied vehicle behind the Mills River Community Center building.” As they tried to find the occupants, deputies said shots were fired in their direction from woods behind the community center.
Two men eventually left the woods and were arrested, according to the sheriff’s office.
Hunter Alan Wright, 22, of Etowah, was taken into custody “without incident,” investigators said. He was charged with misdemeanor resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer and was released on $500 bail.
James Bradley Owen, 21, of Horse Shoe, “refused to comply with deputies’ commands and an altercation occurred” before he was taken into custody, the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook.
Owen was charged with felony first degree attempted murder, felony assault on a law enforcement officer and misdemeanor resisting, delaying or obstructing a government official. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission also charged him with “misdemeanor placing processed food as bait for black bears and discharging a firearm from the right-of-way of a state road. “ Owen remained in the Henderson County Jail on Monday on $100,500 bail.
As Owen fought with deputies, his dog “bit a deputy and was shot,” the sheriff’s office said.
Owen’s father, 49-year-old James Gary Owen of Horse Shoe, showed up at the scene and was arrested for misdemeanor resisting a public officer.
Owen was freed on $400 bail.