Man accused of shooting, carjacking mail carrier in western NC taken into custody

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. — A man accused of shooting a mail carrier and stealing her vehicle in western North Carolina has been arrested. He even apologized for his actions to Channel 9′s Dave Faherty.

“I’m sorry about this guys,” Jaden Garay said.

The original incident happened on Tuesday in Mars Hill, which is in Madison County. Garay, who was inside the postal worker’s vehicle, was chased by police along Interstate 40 before it crashed along Williams Road, just south of Morganton. Afterward, he escaped into the woods.

Police say they used stop sticks to flatten two of the tires.

A perimeter with more than three dozen officers was set up in the area afterward as they searched for Garay, who was eventually taken into custody early Wednesday morning. He told Faherty he wasn’t thinking straight at the time, which deputies said may explain his capture. They said tried to get away but instead, ran to an area right next to the sheriff’s office.

When he spoke to Faherty, Garay also mentioned he’s from Florida.

“I’m really sorry,” he said. “Hopefully she can forgive me and I wasn’t in a clear state of mind. My regards go to the family.”

Deputies said Garay had been wanted in Madison County for felonious assault.

The United States Postal Service confirmed to WLOS that doctors cautiously expect the postal worker to survive.

Postal inspectors recovered bags of mail from the stolen vehicle Wednesday afternoon.

Tina Fredell lives just down the street.

“I’m worried about how he was driving and coming down in the mountains and all that stuff,” she said. “It was really scary.”

Faherty spoke with neighbors overnight while they were still searching for Garay.

“I was at the corner of the house over here when they came by, and I started yelling for my son. It was just a scary situation,” one neighbor said.

As a precaution, deputies made a reverse 911 call to homes nearby, and Burke County Public Schools delayed start times for several schools. But early Wednesday morning, officers said they spotted Garay looking into cars and then running across Interstate 40. A SWAT team moved in to make the arrest.

“Sorry mom, sorry dad, sorry North Carolina,” he said.

Garay was given a $2 million bond and was charged with two felony counts of attempted first-degree murder, records show.

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