3 Rowan Co. men accused of robbing, kidnapping undercover officer

Three Rowan County men have been charged with multiple felony counts related to the armed robbery and kidnapping of a Rowan County undercover officer.

The suspects, Donald Armstrong, 36, Tyrese Stiller, 18, and John Sheehan, 36, agreed to meet the undercover officer in a fast food parking lot on East Innes Street in Salisbury for a drug deal.

(Armstrong, Sheehan, Stiller)

Upon the arrival of the suspects, the officer got into their vehicle and was robbed at gunpoint.

The suspects also stole the officer’s handgun and about $1,500 in cash, the Rowan County Sheriff's Office said.

The suspects then left the parking lot with the officer, Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten said.

Surveillance teams were alerted and confronted the suspect’s vehicle.

"Thank goodness for good systems, surveillance teams and paying attention to what's going on and not assuming everything's gonna work out right," Auten said.

Detectives said several other undercover officers were in the parking lot and one in particular kept a close watch on his colleague and knew he was being robbed.

The officers moved in quickly and confronted the men with their guns drawn.

The officer was not harmed.

"We're very fortunate the detective was not harmed nor any citizens," Auten said. "You got a guy out on federal release from another drug conviction with a stolen gun. That guy doesn't care what he does to another human being."

Armstrong has an extensive criminal history with state convictions for trafficking cocaine, possession with intent to sell cocaine, possession of a weapon on school grounds, among others.

Armstrong received a sentence of 120 months, but was released from the Federal Bureau of Prisons on July 1, 2016, and is presently on supervised release.

Stiller has a conviction for misdemeanor breaking and entering.

Sheehan has an extensive criminal history with convictions for fleeing to elude, felony possession of marijuana, injury to real property, among others.

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