Friend of slain Raleigh pawn shop owner says man accused of killing him ‘a piece of trash’

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The man accused of going on a violent crime spree in Raleigh in September, including the murder of a local pawn shop owner, sauntered into a courtroom to face a judge Thursday afternoon, a day that brought back memories of the tragedy.

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CLICK TO VIEW PHOTOS OF THE SUSPECT, THE VICTIM AND THE SCENE

Police said Kendrick Keyanti Gregory, 21, shot and killed long-time business owner Thomas Durand at the Mr. Pawn Check Cashing on Capital Boulevard in September. After that, police said he raped a teen not too far from the pawn shop.

Gregory, wearing a red prison suit, arrived in the courtroom and glanced to his right, into the crowd, briefly before moving next to his attorney.

The pawn shop is shut down but many people have written about their fond memories of Durand at the scene.

At the court, Durand’s friend Stephen McNair said through tears, “It’s difficult to walk by that store now.”

And former customer Tim Hanrahan said, “He was a real nice guy. He gave back to the community. He was a fun-loving guy.”

And Hanrahan said of Gregory, “He’s just a piece of trash.”

Durand’s family watched the proceedings in the courtroom silently Thursday and declined to comment afterward.

The car believed to be use by Gregory in the crimes was described as a Blue BMW, which was eventually found abandoned in the Brentwood neighborhood in Raleigh.

The same BMW also linked Gregory to a shooting at a hotel on New Bern Avenue earlier that day. Police said Gregory shot Lenin Alvaringa, 27, in the back during that incident.

Gregory was eventually captured in New York and was fighting extradition to North Carolina. According to court documents, Gregory was booked in Wake County overnight.

RELATED: NYC police use GPS device to track down Raleigh murder, rape suspect

After the crime spree, WNCN pulled Gregory’s criminal history which dated back to 2013 when he was charged with larceny. Since then, he has been charged 14 other times. According to arrest warrants, Gregory broke into an apartment in July on Brocton Drive in Raleigh. Police also said he broke into an apartment on Bonneville Court in late August and stole a pair of jeans, a wallet with cash inside and two sets of keys.

As for the recent crime spree in September, Gregory faces assault with intent to kill, murder, rape and robbery charges.

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