Manhunt for armed suspect in western NC continues

(Credit: WSPA)

TRANSYLVANIA CO., N.C. (WSPA) – Deputies are still looking for an armed man after a breaking and entering incident occurred in Mills River Saturday, according to the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office.

After deputies spotted the suspect’s vehicle in Pisgah National Forest, just off of U.S. Highway 276 North, they tried to perform a traffic stop but the man refused to stop and a chase began.

They say the suspect continued on Avery’s Creek Road, but then got out of his car to steal a mountain bike from a victim at gunpoint.

He then put the stolen bike in his car and the chase continued.

Deputies were unable to make contact with the suspect at the time because hikers and campers were around.

The suspect then blocked the roadway with his car by parking it sideways.

Deputies say he got out of the car and onto the stolen bike and fled into the woods.

The suspect has been identified as 38-year-old Phillip Michael Stroupe II.

He is described as a white male, about 5’8″ tall, with a small build.

He has a shaved head and a distinct tattoo on his neck, just under his chin, deputies say.

Deputies say Stroupe has a history of violence and resisting law enforcement.

They say he has outstanding warrants in Buncombe County for kidnapping and pending charges in Yancey County.

Brevard Police Department, U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement, N.C. State Highway Patrol, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, and Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office all helped in the manhunt.

Stroupe has not yet been located and should be considered armed and dangerous.

If you have any information regarding Stroupe’s whereabouts, you are asked to contact the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 884-3168.

Roads and trails on the Pisgah Ranger District east of Highway 276 and south of the Blue Ridge Parkway are closed as the search continues.

Visitors to the Pisgah National Forest should avoid the area which includes trails and roads in the Mills River area, Yellow Gap Road, Turkey Pen Gap, Trace Ridge and Wash Creek.

Highway 276 is also closed from the Pisgah Ranger District office to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Attractions along this stretch of road are closed today including Sliding Rock, Cradle of Forestry, Looking Glass Falls and the Pisgah ranger station visitor center.