Escapee shot after chase, carjacking Jeep with child inside in NC, deputies say

Escaped inmate captured in Waynesville from Smoky Mountains News
(From: Smoky Mountains News / http://bit.ly/2eBUXmr)
Haywood County deputies say Robert Branning was arrested after trying to escape from a deputy's car. Photo: Haywood County Sheriff's Office
Haywood County deputies say Robert Branning was arrested after trying to escape from a deputy’s car. Photo: Haywood County Sheriff’s Office
Haywood County deputies say Joshua Phillips was arrested after trying to escape from a deputy's car. Photo: Haywood County Sheriff's Office
Haywood County deputies say Joshua Phillips was arrested after trying to escape from a deputy’s car. Photo: Haywood County Sheriff’s Office

WAYNESVILLE, NC (WSPA) – A prisoner escaped from a detention van, carjacked a Jeep with a child inside, led police on a chase before crashing and being shot by officers.

The prisoner that escaped and was shot has been identified by the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department as Robert Edward Branning from Canton.

Inmates from Haywood County were being transferred to Buncombe County Jail when the detention officer stopped the van on the side of Interstate 40 due to a disturbance. When the van stopped, one inmate tried to run from the van but was quickly taken back into custody. That inmate has been identified as Joshua Phillips, of Canton.

Escaped inmate captured in Waynesville from Smoky Mountains News
(From: Smoky Mountains News)

While this was happening, a second inmate carjacked a bystander that had stopped to assist the officer. A 6-year-old child inside the car was dropped off several miles later, according to deputies.

Deputies say the stolen car was spotted by law enforcement in Bethel several minutes later and a chase began. Near Waynesville city limits, police used stop sticks to flatten the front tires of the stolen car.

The chase continued on US-279 into Waynesville then on to Main Street where the inmate stopped the car and displayed a gun before he was shot by deputies, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say the inmate found the gun inside the Jeep he carjacked.

The man was taken to an area hospital for his injuries.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations is investigating the incident.

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