Parents of NC Pizza Hut robbery suspect question why worker fatally shot their son

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) — It’s been a difficult week for parents Temia Hairston and Michael Grace Sr. Their son, Michael Grace Jr., was shot and killed during an attempted robbery early Sunday morning.


Police said Grace Jr. and two other people tried to rob a Pizza Hut in the 3200 block of Freedom Drive. During the incident, an employee fired his own handgun and killed Grace Jr.

Hairston said she learned of her son’s death on social media, and only got confirmation from police after contacting them first. The grieving mother said she has been left with dozens of questions about the situation that have thus far gone unanswered.

“If there was to be a death, it was not the place of the employee at Pizza Hut. That is the place of law enforcement,” said Hairston.

Hairston and Grace Sr. acknowledged that their son was breaking the law by robbing the business, and said they definitely don’t condone what he did.

“It was an act of desperation, but I do not believe that Michael would have hurt anyone,” said Hairston.

They said Grace Jr. had fallen on hard times and resorted to crime to provide for his own child. They also said their son used to work at the same Pizza Hut restaurant where the robbery happened. They maintain he never would have physically hurt anyone during the robbery.

WBTV contacted the local restaurant and the Pizza Hut corporation public relations line. Neither have confirmed that Grace Jr. worked as an employee at the Freedom Drive Pizza Hut. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officials have not confirmed the information either.

The parents are angry that their son was shot and killed by an employee. They don’t believe the full story has been released to the public.

RELATED: NC Pizza Hut worker uses own gun to kill armed robber, police say

“Why in the hell did this guy have a gun?” questioned Hairston about the employee who shot her son.

She said her son was shot in the head, and she thinks the shooting may have even been personal, citing past conflicts Grace Jr. had had with other employees at the restaurant.

“This wasn’t a body shot. This was a head shot. My son was shot in the left side of his head just behind his ear. A head shot is personal,” said Hairston.

Even though their son was in the process of committing a crime, the family thinks his death was undeserved and unjustified.

“Even a criminal has a right, to a degree,” said Grace Sr. “I’m not advocating what my son did.”

The family said they want Pizza Hut to release more information about the situation and acknowledge that their son used to be a Pizza Hut employee.

Pizza Hut previously released the following statement about the incident:

The local Pizza Hut franchisee is fully cooperating with the Charlotte Police Department as they continue their investigation, but want to stress that the security of its staff is of utmost concern. They are providing support to the team members involved to ensure their health and well-being following this incident. The employee involved in the shooting has been placed on a leave of absence following further review.”

Hairston said she thinks the employee who shot her son needs to be in jail, and wants all parties involved in the situation to be honest about what happened.

CMPD released a statement when asked about Grace Jr. and his alleged previous history with Pizza Hut.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” the statement read, “any new information will be released by Public Affairs.”

Grace was just 29 years old and leaves behind a young son.

33 thoughts on “Parents of NC Pizza Hut robbery suspect question why worker fatally shot their son

  1. They should have reloaded and shot him again. A thief needs to be shot no pity for him. Got exactly what he deserved. His son is better off without him if he is a thug anyway.


  2. The Pizza Hut near me is ALWAYS hiring, maybe this man should have got a job at the restaurant instead of robbing it. He gambled his life for a draw full of cash, and anyone who gambles knows eventually you lose.

    I think the parents need to put themselves in the shoes of the employee and the customers. If they were out to eat and someone walked in the restaurant with a gun would they care if the robber had a child, was going to college, had a family, etc….? No, none of that matters, at that point its life or death.


  3. First these parents failed in instilling the concept of right and wrong in their kid, Second, they trivialize the obvious consequences of violent crime- to them it’s as if it would have been more acceptable if a police officer shot him while committing his violent crime rather than the victim. Third, they blame the victim for the end result of the son committing violent crime. Fourth, they make up speculation about “their son wouldn’t have harmed anyone” which is pretty much the exact opposite of the message the son conveyed while committing this violent crime.

    There is only one real culprit here. These godawful bad parents.


  4. I remember a similar case in Michigan where an African American youth named Dindu Nuffin was shot during a robbery. His mother said how he sang like an angel in the choir, and couldn’t pass a dirty dish in the sink. Same story, same outcome Darwin approves.


  5. Um, your kid had a gun and pointed it at the guy who shot him. I’m sorry, but your sweet baby (who had “problems” with the other employees – that tells me that he’s another entitled loser) might still be alive if he hadn’t been out robbing innocent people. Parents like this are the problem, raising criminals and expecting everybody to excuse their behavior.


  6. “Why in the Hell did this guy have a gun?”she asks, hmm maybe because he didn’t want to be robbed,hurt or killed by some piece of shit like you’re son.


  7. My condolences go out to the parents of Michael Grace, Jr., on the death of their son. The parents are suffering for something that they were not involved in.

    However, their son entered the Pizza Hut with a gun, according to the Charlotte Observer. He and two accomplices were intent on armed robbery. So, to answer the parents’ question, THAT is why he was shot by the Pizza Hut employee. It is strange that the parents ask why that employee had a gun instead of asking why their son had a gun and why he tried to rob the place.

    The victim here was the employee. Fortunately, in this case, the victim was able to defend himself. Michael Grace, Jr., was not the victim. He was the assailant and the blame for his death falls on him alone.


  8. Armed Robbers have rights too… damn…..Even a criminal has a right, to a degree,” said Grace Sr…right your son is the victim……..GET OVER IT – he got what he deserved…


  9. Why did the employee have gun gun? Because of people like your son! Someone tries to rob me, yes it is personal! The employee prevented others from being hurt at that moment and the future. I am sorry for the parent’s loss but this is just another example of not expecting your children to accept the consequences of poor judgement and choices.


  10. If they are wondering how it came to this, they can examine their own attitudes, which they passed on to their son. No personal responsibility, none. Even when threatening others with death, it is their expectation that they be treated like small children that know not what they are doing.

    Their son is dead because he threatened other people’s lives and one of them responded in an appropriate way. So many people never take on the full responsibility of being an adult citizen, and when they conduct their ass-hattery in the adult world they feel abused to be treated as adults.

    These people should have done a better job with their son.


  11. Dear parents, please be aware what the Bible says about all of us humans: 7 Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap;+ 8 because the one sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but the one sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.+ 9 So let us not give up in doing what is fine, for in due time we will reap if we do not tire out.*+10 So, then, as long as we have the opportunity,* let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.


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