A customer killed a teenage armed robbery suspect at a 7-Eleven in northwest Charlotte early Thursday and shot and injured a second teen suspect, police said.
Police said the 16-year-old suspect, Qwanterrius Stafford, was taken to Carolinas Medical Center and pronounced dead after the shooting in the 4800 block of Brookshire Boulevard.
Police have not yet said whether the customer, who they did not identify, will be charged with any crimes. He was legally carrying the gun with a concealed carry permit, police said, and remained at the scene to cooperate with the investigation.
“I believe in self defense, but it’s not something we certainly like to see,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Sgt. Brian Scharf told reporters Thursday. “But it happened, and everybody has to make their own decision whether their life was in danger or not.”
The second suspect, 17-year-old Brenna Harris, was taken to the hospital with a non-life threatening gunshot wound, according to a CMPD news release.
Harris had left the 7-Eleven and soon showed up in the 1200 block of Saratoga Drive, about 3 miles south of the store. Medic took him to the hospital, according to CMPD. Court records show Harris lives in the 1200 block of Saratoga Drive.
Harris was later released from the hospital, interviewed at police headquarters and jailed on charges of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and armed robbery from a person, authorities said.
Scharf said Stafford pointed a gun “within inches” of the armed customer’s face and took his belongings before turning to demand money from the 7-Eleven cashier.
“At that point, the patron perceived an imminent deadly threat and he fired his own legally carried weapon,” Scharf said. “He struck both suspects.”
Investigators believe that Stafford and Harris were unaware that the customer had a gun at the beginning of the robbery, police said.
Police recovered two handguns in the store. Stafford had one of the guns during the attempted robbery, and the other belonged to the customer, according to the CMPD release.
CMPD will investigate whether the customer’s actions were justified and then turn the investigation over to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office for review, police said. Police did not respond to questions Friday about the timeline for that process.
The 7-Eleven shooting came in the same week that CMPD announced that the death of another person suspected of trying to steal from a business was ruled justified. Wallace Scranton, 39, was pinned to the ground by employees of a Steele Creek business in February, and died from a brain injury caused by the restraint days later.
In another case where a suspected thief was shot and killed, CMPD charged the store’s owner. Alan Brett Corder, 50, was charged with voluntary manslaughter after he shot and killed 20-year-old Justin Tyler Anderson, who had apparently broken into the American Beauty Garden Center on East Independence Boulevard in the summer of 2018.
Corder had driven to the garden center after receiving an alarm notification at his home, according to police. A 911 operator told him not to approach the building until police arrived, but Corder called 911 again minutes later and said he had shot Anderson as Anderson ran out of the store. Corder’s case is still pending, according to court records.
In both cases, police did not say whether the theft suspects were armed.