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Pair Indicted on Federal Charges in Officer Shooting

Posted November 8, 2007

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— Two Fayetteville men have been indicted on federal charges in connection with a March shooting of a Fayetteville police officer.

Robert Hampton Taylor, 51, of Newport Road, and Steven Craig Bethea, 39, of Dorchester Drive, have been indicted on charges of conspiracy and attempt to commit robbery of a business engaged in interstate commerce, use of a firearm in a federal crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The indictment alleges that the pair conspired to rob Kato Bingo Hall, on Yadkin Road, but they were pulled over by Officer Douglas Austin in a routine traffic stop on Jack's Ford Road on March 26.

One of the men shot Austin in the chest and beat on him before a Fort Bragg soldier who lived nearby heard the commotion and came to Austin's aid.

Taylor also faces state charges, including attempted first-degree murder and felonious assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Bethea also is charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and failure to appear on a misdemeanor larceny charge.

The government alleged in the indictment that Bethea is an "armed career criminal," meaning he faces 15 years to life in prison is convicted.

Austin is the son of Fayetteville City Councilwoman Lois Kirby. His father is a baseball coach at Methodist University.

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