Phillip Wayne Stewart

Phillip Wayne Stewart

An Athens gas station owner was arrested Sunday after chasing, ramming and shooting at a customer he said was trying to steal gasoline from the business, according to the Limestone County Sheriff's Office.

LCSO Public Information Officer Stephen Young said deputies responded to a call around 8:30 a.m. Sunday involving a chase eastbound on U.S. 72 near West Washington Street. The driver of the pursuing vehicle was reportedly ramming the vehicle and firing shots at it as they entered the Athens city limits.

Young said Athens Police spoke with the victim at U.S. 72 and Hine Street, where they noted damage to the rear of the victim's truck and a bullet hole through the tailgate. The victim told police the driver of the other car had chased him from S&Z Grocery on U.S. 72.

LCSO deputies spoke with 64-year-old Phillip Wayne Stewart at S&Z Grocery, at which point deputies also noted vehicle damage — this time, on the front-end of Stewart's Chevrolet Malibu, Young said.

"Stewart, who owns S&Z, told deputies he chased the victim because he had 'stolen gas' from the business," Young said. "Deputies also recovered a 9 mm handgun at S&Z and a matching projectile from the victim's tailgate."

Stewart is charged with attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle. He was released Sunday from the Limestone County Jail on $60,000 bond.

Young said investigators are still reviewing evidence to determine whether the victim was stealing gas from S&Z.

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