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Athens gas station owner arrested for attempted murder, shooting into vehicle

Phillip Stewart

A local gas station owner is charged with attempted murder and shooting into the vehicle of a customer he thought was trying to steal gas, according to the Limestone County Sheriff's Office.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 2:25 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2020 2:44 PM

The owner of a gas station in Athens was arrested for attempted murder and shooting into a vehicle on Sunday.

Phillip Wayne Stewart, 64, is accused of chasing, ramming and shooting at a customer he thought was trying to steal gasoline, according to the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office. He’s charged with attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

Stewart was released from the Limestone County Jail on Sunday on a $60,000 bond.

Deputies responded to the call on Sunday around 8:30 a.m. At the time, the sheriff’s office says the vehicles were reported to be eastbound on Highway 72, near West Washington Street.

The pursuit continued into Athens city limits. The sheriff's office says Athens police officers contacted the victim in a black truck at the intersection of Highway 72 and Hine Street. It says the truck had damage to its rear and a bullet hole through the tailgate.

According to the sheriff’s office, the victim told police the driver of the other vehicle had chased him from S&Z Grocery on Highway 72. It says deputies contacted Stewart at S&Z grocery and saw front-end damage to his Chevrolet Malibu.

“Stewart, who owns S&Z, told deputies he chased the victim because he had 'stolen gas' from the business," Stephen Young, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said Tuesday.

He says deputies also recovered a 9mm handgun at the gas station and a matching projectile from the victim’s tailgate.

According to Young, Stewart confessed to ramming and shooting at the vehicle, and investigators are reviewing evidence to determine if the victim was stealing gas.

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