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Victim identified in East Asheville fatal shooting, suspect charged

Cameron Ellis McElrath, 20, of Swannanoa, was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder in Stewart's death. In court Monday, McElrath was told he could face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted of murder. (Photo: WLOS staff)

Authorities have released the name of the man they say was shot and killed early Sunday morning in Asheville.

The Buncombe County Sheriff's Office said 23-year-old Robert Jacob "Jake" Stewart of Asheville was killed in the shooting at RC Cole Lane.

RC Cole is located off Riceville Road.

Cameron Ellis McElrath, 20, of Swannanoa, was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder in Stewart's death. In court Monday, McElrath was told he could face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted of murder.

According to the investigation report completed by the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, McElrath and Stewart knew one another.

Officials with Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office say the 911 call came in at 2:45 a.m. Sunday morning as a gunshot wound to the head. The incident report states the weapon used was a shotgun, which neighbors say they heard.

"It was loud. It was not a 22 or a small gun, it was a larger-caliber gun, and it was a pop. That was the second one I heard," said neighbor Cynthia Pinkston when we spoke with her on Sunday.

McElrath also faces charges related to a chase along I-40 from Buncombe into McDowell County following the shooting. Those additional charges include assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

Warrants say McElrath tried to flee arrest, rammed his vehicle into the deputy’s patrol car, and once he finally was stopped, he wouldn’t get out of his vehicle.

In taking a look at McElrath’s previous charges we see that he has pending drug charges and driving offenses.

His next court date is March 5, 2018.

McElrath is being held at the Buncombe County Detention Facility.

Authorities say the investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

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