Hickory police: Man arrested after stealing SUV, shooting at officers



HICKORY, N.C. - Hickory police have arrested the man they said led them on a chase before crashing a stolen SUV and firing shots at officers.

Police said that around 9 p.m. Tuesday they responded to the Raceway gas station on Highway 321 Northwest after a man said his Jeep Cherokee was stolen while he was in the store.

The victim told officers that he had a handgun in the console.

Police were able to spot the stolen Jeep near Civitan Park but the driver was able to elude them. A short time later, a caller alerted police that the Jeep was abandoned in the woods in the 400 block of 17th Avenue Northeast, near Hickory High School.

Officers used a K-9 to track the suspect and that's when police said the man fired shots at officers. Nobody was hit.

Police set up a perimeter around the immediate area, close to the Hampton Heights Golf Course.

After viewing surveillance video from the gas station, police were able to identify two suspects, James Smith and Erin Shell.

Officials were able to determine that Smith drove off in the stolen Jeep alone.

Officers were able to arrest Smith just after 7 a.m. Wednesday after he was pinned down in the woods overnight. He was found behind some homes, about 200 yards from where he ditched the stolen SUV.

Police said he was not hurt and that charges are forthcoming.

Smith has been charged with assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer, larceny of a motor vehicle, possessing a stolen motor vehicle, driving while impaired, driving while license revoked and hit and run.

Police also arrested Shell and charged her with aiding and abetting and driving with a revoked license.

Hickory police had initially encouraged parents in the area to drive their children to school Wednesday morning. Hickory school officials placed Hickory High School and Northview Middle School on "Code Yellow" lockdowns until they were given the all clear by police.

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