Three Shot in Convenience Store Robbery
By Tom Embrey
Moore County sheriff's deputies have three suspects in custody and are searching for a fourth in connection with an armed robbery and shooting Monday night at a convenience store near Vass.
Two of the suspects are in jail and a third is hospitalized after the robbery that happened just before 10:30 p.m. Monday at the Exxon Short Stop Food Mart at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Camp Easter Road in Lakeview.
"He is ducking us," Sheriff Lane Carter said of the fourth suspect. "He knows we are looking for him, and we will find him."
The store clerk, Grace Kelly, 75, and her husband, Angus Kelly, 78, also were shot during the robbery.
Angus Kelly arrived at the convenience store to pick up his wife and came upon the robbery. He got a shotgun from his vehicle and fired a shot through the store window, according to a Sheriff's Office report. Gunfire was exchanged, and Kelly was shot in the torso. His wife was hit in the arm, and Williams was shot in the face.
Grace Kelly was treated and released at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. Her husband was taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he has undergone surgery. He was listed in serious condition Tuesday afternoon.
The Kellys' grandson, Chris, said he was home listening to the police scanner when deputies were dispatched to the store. He said he tried to call his grandmother to tell her what was going on and to urge her to be careful, but he was unable to reach her for several minutes. He kept calling until she answered.
She told him that everything was fine and not to worry, he said.
"Then I got a call from somebody who said they heard it was Grace who had been shot," Chris Kelly said. "I told them they didn't know what they were talking about because I just talked to her. I guess she wouldn't tell me (she'd been shot) because she didn't want me to get worried."
Sheriff Lane Carter has known the Kellys for several years. He was on the scene after Angus Kelly had been airlifted to the hospital.
"They handled the situation pretty well," Carter said. "It was bad enough, but it could have been a lot worse."
After a two-hour search of the area, two of the three suspects identified from the store video were arrested.
Randy Joel Williams, 17, of Southern Pines, was found in a wooded area about a half-mile from the scene. Williams had sustained a gunshot wound to the face. He was transported to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, where he underwent surgery and is currently listed in critical condition.
Demarcus James Dennison, 18, of Polkton, was also found in the wooded area with Williams. Investigators later arrested Leroy Richard Medley Jr., 20, of Southern Pines.
Dennison and Medley have each been charged with two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and first-degree kidnapping. Both are being held under $250,000 secure bonds. Their first court appearance is scheduled for July 15 in Moore County District Court.
Authorities said the identity of the fourth suspect is known. Police were believed to be searching for him in the Southern Pines area Tuesday
According to the incident report, a Hispanic male told deputies he was inside the store with his baby when two black men entered the store. One was carrying a handgun, and the other had a shotgun. He and his baby got on the floor and told one of the suspects to take whatever he wanted. The suspect took his wallet.
He then heard a gunshot, and the black male wearing a white shirt grabbed his face. He heard another gunshot and noticed that the glass from the front door of the store had shattered and went everywhere. He said it appeared the man holding his face appeared to have been shot by an elderly man in the parking lot who was standing next to a Jeep.
Two men, the one who had been shot, and another, wearing a red shirt, fled the store while a white car in the parking lot drove away.
Sheriff's deputies will be in contact with other local law enforcement agencies to determine if the suspects may have been responsible for several other armed robberies in the area.
The most recent of them happened Saturday when gunmen robbed the Hardee's in Aberdeen. That robbery was captured on surveillance video. Deputy Chief Jim Foster of the Aberdeen Police said the video from that incident has been taken to Carthage.
On Monday, Foster described the suspects in the Hardee's armed robbery as being black males. One was wearing a red shirt and another had on a white shirt.
"We are pretty sure they are the same guys," Carter said. "We haven't been able to connect that dot yet, but we will."
Contact Tom Embrey by e-mail at email@example.com.
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