Police: Preacher shot in drug deal

A Stagecoach preacher was shot in the head Monday night allegedly during a drug deal in a North Carson City parking lot, an investigator said Tuesday.

Detective Brian Humphrey said Jonathan Stewart, 31, of the Church of God, suffered a minor injury following a scuffle in his vehicle at the Parkway Manor Apartments on West College Parkway.

According to Humphrey, Stewart admitted he was looking for a "fix," when he approached a woman at the Albertsons on North Carson Street.

The unidentified woman got into Stewart's car and had him drive her to the apartment complex a block away where she contacted three men outside. At least two of the men got into Stewart's vehicle and agreed to sell him methamphetamine, Humphrey said.

Stewart was allegedly given what was presented as 3 grams of meth and he gave the men an unknown amount of money. With the men still inside the vehicle, Stewart realized the meth was fake.

"He thought it was Epsom salt," Humphrey said. "There was some discussion about it being fake and then a struggle began inside the vehicle where the two men started beating on him and punching him."

Humphrey said Stewart fought with his assailants, before the man in the back seat got out and shot him in the head with a .22 caliber handgun.

The two men then ran away through the complex, a witness reported.

Stewart was taken to Carson-Tahoe Hospital, and then taken by Care Flight to Washoe Medical Center where he was treated and released.

"The bullet grazed his head. It skipped across his skull," said Detective Dena Lacy. "He's very lucky."

Juan Carlos Martinez, 23, was booked into the Carson City Jail on suspicion of felony attempted murder and robbery with a deadly weapon. His bail was set at $100,000. Another man was arrested on an unrelated warrant after he was contacted during the investigation.

Humphrey said initially Stewart was not cooperative because he was concerned his congregation would find out what happened.

"But then he realized what he was doing and he came clean," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Carson City Sheriff's Department detective division at 887-2020 ext. 1400.

Stewart could not be reached for comment.

Humphrey said Stewart is new to the area, coming to Stagecoach from another church in either Texas or Arizona. His wife and child hadn't joined him here yet.

-- Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.


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