Crime & Courts

Second suspect charged with killing Steak ‘n Shake worker who died a hero

A second suspect has been charged in the south Charlotte slaying of a fast-food employee who was hailed Thursday as a hero by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney.

Kiara Monique Murphy, 26, dropped off Eddie Doh, the initial suspect, at the Steak ‘n Shake restaurant on South Boulevard before the armed robbery and shooting Tuesday morning, Capt. Rob Dance told reporters. Murphy has been charged with murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Doh is recovering in the hospital after he was shot by Pineville police, according to CMPD.

Police say Doh shot two men at the Steak ‘n Shake. Employee Darnell Harris, 48, was killed, and 53-year-old Robert Carpenter is still recovering in the hospital, according to police.

Putney praised Harris’ actions, saying that he spotted Doh with his gun and chose to fight him, saving other lives.

Harris’ younger brother, Brendan Rouffin, said their family wasn’t surprised to hear that Harris was a hero in his final moments.

“My brother never owned a weapon, never hit anything, but he would always step in front of me,” Rouffin said at a news conference. “And I’m bigger than him, he’s a smaller dude, but he always had heroic (instincts) — just to step in front and keep you safe.”

When Rouffin realized that his brother’s Steak ‘n Shake location was in the news, he said he immediately started to worry, knowing that Harris was the kind of person to sacrifice his own life for others.

Police typically recommend that armed robbery victims keep themselves safe by cooperating. Dance said Thursday morning that that is still CMPD’s advice.

Harris’ friend, Anthony Townsend, said Harris thought of his coworkers as family members. Harris was dedicated to his job, Rouffin said, and made sure to be there even on holidays and in bad weather.

Police said Harris was not armed, but more than one weapon was found at the scene, and investigators are still working to find out who they belonged to. Investigators did not describe the weapons.

Putney called for an end to the violent crime facing Charlotte, saying that Harris was killed while living his normal life, doing what thousands of people do in Charlotte every day. He said people who commit repeated violent crimes need to be held accountable.

Murphy and Doh have also been linked to another armed robbery at a north Charlotte restaurant last week, Dance said, and will face additional charges.

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Kiara Murphy, 26, has been charged with murder and armed robbery in connection with a deadly shooting at a South Boulevard fast food restaurant, police said. Kiara Murphy, 26, has been charged with murder and armed robbery in connection with a deadly shooting at a South Boulevard fast food restaurant, police said. Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office

Fundraising for Harris

A fundraiser to help Harris’ family with his funeral expenses was launched Wednesday by Charlotte City Council member Tariq Bokhari and LendingTree CEO Doug Lebda, with Lebda agreeing to match donations up to $20,000. The GoFundMe page had raised more than $1,500 by 12:15 p.m. Thursday.

Jane Wester is a Charlotte native and has been covering criminal justice and public safety for The Charlotte Observer since May 2017.