RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Only a small bit of the story is told by the growing memorial in front of Mr. Pawn Check Cashing on Capital Boulevard where police said Thomas Durand was shot and killed Monday night.
Customers are stunned by the murder of the beloved owner and want the suspect in the killing, Kendrick Gregory, caught.
“I immediately started crying … because we’ve known him 30 years,” said customer Tabitha Bridges.
Bridges said Durand was more than businessman. She said he was a nice person.
“He’d make you smile all the time,” customer Gwen Summerset said.
Police said the deadly shooting occurred just after 7 p.m. at the pawn shop.
Friends and customers said Durand was always well armed when he was in his store.
Every time I went in Mr. Pawn, he had a gun on his side,” Bridges said. “I was thinking this guy ambushed him cause he always had a gun at his side.”
Raleigh police are searching for Gregory for the killing of Durand and the rape of a 15-year-old girl.
Police believe Gregory raped the teen not far from Mr. Pawn shortly after Durand was killed.
Gregory was seen forcing the girl into a car at gunpoint, according to a 911 call.
A car believed to be used by Gregory was later found abandoned in the Brentwood neighborhood where an intensive manhunt was conducted.
Gregory is also linked to a shooting and robbery earlier Monday morning. Police said Gregory shot Lenin Alvaringa, 27, in the back at a hotel on New Bern Avenue just before 9 a.m.
“I can’t wait for them to catch him. I think we’ll be safer,” Bridges said. “It seems like he’s on a crime spree.”
Police continue to warn Gregory is considered armed and extremely dangerous.
Gregory faces several charges including murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree rape, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.