Brinks employee dies after shooting at Friendly Center
Monday, December 15
(updated 5:03 pm)
By Lanita Withers
GREENSBORO - An employee of Brinks Security died this afternoon after being shot during a robbery this morning outside the Old Navy store at Friendly Center, police said today.
Crystal and Steven Carter of Reidsville were in the front part of the store doing Christmas shopping when they heard a gunshot.
When the first shot rang out, everyone fell to the ground, she said. The store was silent.
"Not a word," Crystal Carter said.
Witnesses said two shots were fired.
Soon afterward, they saw a man running toward the back of the store.
The couple then saw another man lying on the ground in the front of the store.
Crystal Carter gripped the security guard's hand during the wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
"All they got was Old Navy's money," Carter said. "It's horrible. I've never seen anything like this in my life."
Police described the suspect as a black man with a dark complexion, 5 feet 10 to 6 feet tall and wearing a shoulder-length, dark red wig.
He had on teal pants and a white shirt, similar to those worn by hospital employees, with a print design on the shirt and a long-sleeve white T-shirt underneath. He wore white tennis shoes. The suspect left the area in a black vehicle that possibly had a spoiler on the trunk.
At a news conference near the scene of the shooting, police Chief Tim Bellamy said police got a call about the robbery at 10 a.m.
The robbery appeared to be pre-arranged because customers saw the suspect inside Old Navy beforehand, knowing the Brinks truck was arriving at some point, Bellamy said.
The Brinks employee had picked up money in the store when the suspect approached him. Several bags that the victim was carrying were later reported missing.
The suspect took off on foot after the shooting, then got into a vehicle near a Wachovia bank, Bellamy said.
The suspect remained at large as of Monday afternoon.
The victim, who was not identified, was taken to a local hospital where he later died.
Police will review surveillance tapes from stores at the shopping center, Bellamy said.
"A lot of these businesses have video surveillance cameras and most have reported to us that they do have videos that were working today," Bellamy said.
No store employees or customers were injured. A second Brinks employee with the victim also was not injured.
Stephanie Newton and Cody Harker had gone to Old Navy to exchange a present for Newton's daughter.
About 10 or 12 people were in the store as it opened. Shortly after 10 a.m., mom and son were in the girl's section when they heard a gunshot inside the store.
"The first pop, everybody turned around," recalled Newton, 42, who lives in Stokesdale. "It was weird."
When the suspect fired a second shot, Newton, Harker and another woman nearby ducked behind a rack of clothes. Newton spoke in a whisper when she called 911 from her cell phone.
"We weren't sure what had happened," Newton said. "It was horrible."
When a woman screamed, they stood up. There was commotion at the front of the store Someone demanded blankets to staunch the guard's bleeding. Harker, 18 and a student at Duke University in Durham, found some and rushed to help.
Outside, Katie Nugent, 62, was arriving to meet her daughter and grandson. As she got to the front door, she saw the security guard lying outside with blood nearby.
"I backed up and thought, 'Oh, my gosh,'" Nugent said.
Old Navy employee David Hawks heard both the shots as he was getting ready to clock out. "I was in the fitting room," Hawks said. "My shift was over."
Carrie Gatling, an employee at Old Navy, had arrived at the store about 10:20 a.m., 25 minutes before her shift began.
She saw police and fire and rescue vehicles in the parking lot.
"My manager told me to go home," Gatling said. "I'm really shocked."
Police had blocked off the parking lot in front of Rite Aid near Old Navy down to the Barnes & Noble.
Friendly Center, located at 600 Green Valley Road, did not close after the shooting.
Staff Writer John Newsom contributed to this story