2 men charged with murder in ‘cold-blooded’ killing of NC 7-Eleven clerk

Geoffrey Ford and Treyvonte Luwanna Lockhart_554480

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Two men are facing murder charges in connection with the killing of a convenience store clerk in southwest Charlotte.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police investigators say Khaled Mohamad Elmerkabaoui was working alone when he was killed “in cold blood” in what appears to be a robbery attempt at a 7-Eleven in the 700 block of Westinghouse Boulevard on Dec. 9.EARLIER: NC police release suspect photo in ‘cold-blooded’ 7-Eleven killing

According to CMPD, the vehicle that was wanted in connection with the shooting was spotted by officers around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. Police say they attempted to stop the driver, who was identified as 29-year-old Treyvonte Luwanna Lockhart, in a neighborhood located off of Park Road and Highway 51, but he refused and lead officers on a chase. The chase ended in Concord when Lockhart abandoned the vehicle, police say.

A short time later, officers were able to find Lockhart and arrest him.

Lockhart was charged with murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon and possessing a stolen firearm. Police say he also had outstanding warrants for his arrest in South Carolina for attempted armed robbery, criminal conspiracy and speeding to elude an arrest. Lockhart’s charges were connected with an attempted robbery that happened in Fort Mill.

On Tuesday night, police say the second suspect, identified as 44-year-old Geoffrey Ford, was spotted driving a vehicle in a residential neighborhood near Carmel Road at Quail Hollow Road in south Charlotte just before 9 a.m. According to CMPD, officers tried to conduct a traffic stop but Ford ran from the vehicle on foot. Police say they were able to set up a perimeter and arrest Ford a short time later.

Police say Ford was alone in the car during the incident.

Ford was charged with murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Detectives were requesting the public’s assistance in identifying five witnesses in connection with the deadly shooting.

“The suspect walked in – from all indications it was a robbery attempt. The clerk offered no resistance whatsoever to the suspect and the suspect did shoot and kill the clerk He then fled the store,” said Captain Chris Dozier. “We’re extremely upset over the fact that a situation like is extremely rare. You have a clerk that offers no resistance, offers no resistance whatsoever and is a victim of a homicide.”

Detectives say a customer who arrived at the store on Westinghouse Boulevard shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday found El-Merkabaoui’s body.

“We do have surveillance of what occurred inside the store, so it’s very helpful to us,” Capt Dozier said. “It’s a tool we’re using to follow up on leads and hopefully it can be instrumental in helping solve this murder.”

At a press conference on Thursday, police released a photo one of the suspected shooters. A total of $10,000 was offered as a reward for information leading to the person pictured.

“That’s the perfect descriptor – this is cold-blooded,” Capt Dozier said. “Usually robbers – their goal is to get money from the store for whatever reason. If the clerks comply, then that’s what happens. That’s what we see for the vast majority of the crime – for robberies.”

A photo of the suspect vehicle was also released a short time later.

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