Authorities have identified a 17-year-old from South Carolina as the second suspect in the shooting death of a convenience store employee in Montgomery County last month.
Darlington, SC, police arrested the teenager Monday on an unrelated attempted murder charge, the State Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.
The teenager will be transferred to Montgomery County, where he will be charged with first degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon in the death of Laura Lynn Whitman, the SBI announced.
The charges stem from an incident at 10:08 p.m. June 25 when a man entered the Quik Chek convenience store at 231 S. Main St. in Star, a town in eastern Montgomery County, the SBI said.
The man displayed a handgun, then jumped behind the counter with Whitman, who worked at the store, the SBI said.
Whitman opened the cash register and the suspect walked through it, the SBI said. The suspect then turned to Whitman and fired several shots at him. Whitman died at the scene.
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The suspect then stole more cash from the cash register before leaving the store, the SBI said.
On July 9, James William Ward Jr., 57, of Brewer Road in Winston-Salem was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon in the death of Whitman, the SBI said.
Investigators identified Ward as the driver during the robbery and shooting, SBI said.
Under North Carolina’s criminal murder law, a defendant can be held responsible for a death if they were an accomplice to the crime that led to the death, according to the UNC School of Government.
Ward was arrested by Winston-Salem police.
Whitman’s daughter, Courtney Rodriguez, told FOX8/WGHP that her mother was 53 and worked at the Quik Chek in nearby Candor before she moved to Star’s store.
Rodriguez said his mother was a loving person who enjoyed talking with customers, the television network reported.
“She was nice,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone loved him.”