DENTON, N.C. — Law enforcement officials are looking for a man they say robbed and assaulted people on Jan. 20 and is eluding arrest.
Dustin Diehl was initially wanted on charges of assault, felony fleeing to elude arrest and resisting, obstructing and delaying.
As of Monday, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office says there were plenty of possible sightings of Diehl over the weekend, as well as tips. None of these tips led to an arrest, and deputies are still searching for the suspect.
On Wednesday, deputies responded to an assault in the Cabin Creek Road area.
Deputies say the victim ran away after being assaulted by Diehl. While the victim was running Diehl fired a pistol at the victim.
Once the shooter and two others left the scene, the victim was able to call 911.
Deputies were able to find Diehl in the suspect vehicle close to that area, near N.C. 49, and tried to stop him. The driver did not stop and led deputies on a brief chase.
The chase crossed into Randolph County on old N.C. 49 until the driver turned left onto Gopher Woods Road where he crashed in a yard.
The suspect jumped out of the vehicle and ran. Two other people stayed in the car.
One of the people in car was arrested on unrelated outstanding charges.
Deputies say Diehl was seen running away from a barn near Moore Road and may have gone into a river that runs through the area.
Witnesses said that Diehl had a pistol on his belt in a holster.
Around 2:50 p.m. Thursday, a person matching the description of Diehl broke into a home on Jackson Creek Road, attempted to lock a victim in a bedroom and stole a vehicle at gunpoint.
“I was like, ‘What am I going to do? I have my grandson here, and this fugitive is at my door,’” said Tammy Mabe, of Randolph County.
Mabe’s 7-year-old grandson, Liam, almost opened the door for Diehl until he got a good look at his face.
“It was so scary to see his face right there in my door,” Mabe said.
Mabe called the police as Diehl tried to get into a home on Jackson Creek Road. Deputies say he broke in, pointed a gun at the homeowner and stole her vehicle.
That’s what prompted a high-speed chase into the woods in Davidson County.
As a FOX8 crew was walking through the area Friday, we met Michael Potts who was trying to tow the van out of the brush.
Potts told us he’s known Diehl since he was a baby.
“I don’t think he’ll turn himself in. I honestly don’t,” Potts explained.
Potts believes Diehl can survive alone in the woods. He said he’s done it before and will do anything to avoid getting caught.
“He’s done a lot of stealing and stuff like that, and I think he’s done some robberies, but I don’t think he’s ever physically hurt anybody. But things change,” Potts said.
While deputies from Davidson and Randolph County search for Diehl in several cities and at old hangouts and try to talk to his acquaintances, people living where he’s been spotted are worried about him showing up at their homes.
“Hopefully, this guy gets caught and put away to safety,” Mabe said.