Shooting suspect identified, arrested and missing person found

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Press Release – Deputies with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of Echo Valley after the victim of an apparent shooting showed up at a residence seeking assistance. EMS also responded and treated the victim for injuries to his neck and shoulder. Victim was later airlifted a short time later to Asheville where he has now undergone emergency surgery. Prior to being airlifted, victim was able to speak with detectives briefly but were able to get much information. Throughout the day detectives were able to identify a potential suspect and began trying to locate him.

As the day progressed, information was able to be obtained by detectives from various individuals which proved to be reliable. Late this afternoon, deputies and detectives located a vehicle where the suspect in today’s shooting was a passenger. Multiple deputies executed a traffic stop of the vehicle on South Skeenah Road and placed him in custody. After deputies initiated the traffic stop and subsequent arrest, the suspect was found to be in possession of a loaded firearm and two spent shell casings. Matthew Dakota Shuler, 27, of Franklin was arrested and transported to the Macon County Detention Center where he was interviewed by detectives and later booked into the detention center on charges related to today’s shooting. Charges include Assault with a Deadly Weapon and bond has been set at $100,000.00 by the magistrate.

Macon County Officers asked for assistance in locating another potential victim, but he made contact with his family and is safe. When deputies initially arrived at the shooting scene, the victim was extremely concerned about a friend whose victim believed was also in danger. Austin Jeffery Caitta, 21, was currently listed as “MISSING” as his whereabouts were unknown at that time. Caitta was not a suspect and not wanted by law enforcement. However, they want to know he was okay and asked him to contact his family immediately. Yes, law enforcement also wanted to talk with him about any additional information he may know. Their main concern was his safety.

Anyone with information about today’s shooting was asked to call CRIME STOPPERS at 349-2600 or the MCSO at 349-2104.

No additional information will be released at this time.

Images courtesy of Macon County Sheriff’s Office Facebook.

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