Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Identify Man Shot, Killed While Attempting Armed Robbery of Subway Restaurant

By Steve Lyttle and Bruce Henderson / Charlotte Observer

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Tuesday a 20-year-old with at least three arrests in the last 2 1/2 years was the man shot and killed by a Subway employee Monday night during an apparent armed robbery at the restaurant on West Sugar Creek Road in north Charlotte.

The suspected accomplice was identified by police as a 19-year-old with at least 15 arrests in recent years, including two armed robbery charges since October. Police also arrested a woman whom they say drove the 19-year-old to the hospital after he was wounded by the Subway employee.

Investigators did not say if the employee, whose name has not been released, will be charged in the case — at least the third time in recent months that a store employee has shot and killed a suspect during an attempted robbery.

Killed in Monday night’s incident was Jamal Steven McKenith, police say. Wounded was Demetrius Nathaniel Thomas, 19. Police say he underwent surgery early Tuesday for his wounds and is recovering at Carolinas Medical Center. When he is released, police say, he will be charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Jamal Steven McKenith

        Jamal Steven McKenith

The third person charged was Deonna Brown, 19, whom police say drove Thomas to CMC after the shooting. A fourth person whom police say got into Brown’s car after she left with Thomas for the hospital will not be charged, investigators say.

According to court records, McKenith was charged in November 2008 with assault with a deadly weapon and intent to kill, among other charges. Thomas’ most recent arrest was Dec. 1, when he was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon.

The shootings took place just before 7 p.m. at 626 W. Sugar Creek Road, in a row of businesses fronting the busy thoroughfare. The clerk was not hurt, police said.

Officers responding to reports of gunshots found a man lying at the end of a strip mall near the Hidden Valley neighborhood, dead of an apparent gunshot wound, police said. Witnesses told police two men had entered the Subway store, armed with handguns. Moments later, gunshots rang out.

Police say they arrived at the scene and found McKenith dead outside the restaurant. A short time later, another man, whom police say was Thomas, showed up at CMC suffering from a gunshot wound.

Police said there were patrons in the restaurant at the time of the shooting, but they were not injured. Police have not said whether the robbery suspects fired their weapons.

Rick Abernathy, who lives across the street from the restaurant, described the shootout to WCNC-TV, the Observer’s news partner.

“We were eating supper, and we had about 10 gunshots go off, so we ran to the door and could see across the street, somebody shooting,” Abernathy told NewsChannel 36. “He kept going around the corner, shooting.”

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call 704-432-8477 and ask to speak to a homicide detective, or call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Spokesmen for Subway, headquartered in Milford, Conn., did not immediately reply to e-mails about the company’s policy on employees arming themselves.

In at least two area cases last year, fast-food and convenience store workers shot and killed would-be robbers.

In October, a Pizza Hut employee was being pistol-whipped by two robbery suspects in east Charlotte, police say. The employee, a delivery driver who was at the store just after closing, later told the Observer that he pulled a Glock 22 from under his shirt and shot his assailants. The men, both 21-year-old convicted felons, died at the scene. The delivery driver was not charged.

In June, two clerks at a Sunny Food Mart in Monroe exchanged gunfire with a masked man during a robbery attempt, police say. The Union County district attorney decided not to charge the clerks.

WCNC-TV contributed

Published in: on January 19, 2011 at 9:39 am  Leave a Comment  

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