Albemarle man arrested, Salisbury man dead after chase, shootout

Published 3:14 pm Thursday, February 18, 2021

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By Josh Bergeron, Salisbury Post

A 28-year-old Salisbury man has been identified as the man found dead with multiple gunshot wounds after a Rowan County Sheriff’s Office chase that ended with a shootout.

James Edward Coe, 28, was being surveilled by sheriff’s deputies and wanted for charges of felony fleeing to elude law enforcement in a motor vehicle, reckless driving to endanger, speeding 90 mph in a 35 mph zone, no operator’s license, driving right of center and failure to stop at a stop sign, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

James Coe

Coe was the passenger in a vehicle driven by Devin Alexander Cornwell, 23, of Albemarle, the Sheriff’s Office said. Cornwell was charged with felony fleeing to elude law enforcement as well as failure to appear. He was out of jail on bond for drug and weapons charges.

Coe and Cornwell were first spotted by deputies leaving a residence on Jacob Bost Road Wednesday in a white Chevrolet S10 truck. A news release said Coe matched the description of a wanted suspect.

Devin Cornwell

The surveillance turned into a chase after Rowan Sheriff’s Office deputies attempted to stop the vehicle for brake light and tag violations on South Main Street. The chase made a turn onto Mooresville Road and also traveled on Martin Luther King Jr. and Jake Alexander boulevards as well as Klumac Road.

The Chevrolet S10 truck was involved in a crash near Oliver Garden at 1425 Klumac Road and received a flattened right front tire. The chase continued over Julian Road before ending on the southbound I-85 ramp.

In a news release, the Sheriff’s Office said Coe got out of the truck and used a long gun to shoot at deputies, striking a patrol vehicle, while fleeing into the woods. The deputies returned fire.

Cornwell was arrested without incident.

The Salisbury Police Department, N.C. State Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s Office established a perimeter, with officers on the I-85 ramp and West Ritchie Road. A news release said officers heard a single gunshot inside the wooded area as they were searching for the passenger. They found Coe dead as well as a firearm.

A news release said Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation have been notified about the incident. The SBI will conduct an officer-involved shooting investigation.