‘He did extra for strangers’: Family remembers Roanoke Rapids Domino’s driver shot, killed

Local News

ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. (WNCN) – The Halifax County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting death of a pizza delivery driver.

Sheriff Wes Tripp said it appears James Lee, 21, was robbed and then fatally shot late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. 

Deputies said Tuesday night that they had identified two suspects in the murder and are close to arresting them. Their identities have not been released to the public.

“He was a good kid. He never did anything wrong,” said Lee’s mother, Jill Coates. 

Coates saw her son before he went to work Monday. She said she could’ve never known that was the last time she’d see him. 

“Terrible. Terrible. He didn’t deserve it at all,” she said. 

Tripp said Lee was delivering pizzas for his job at Domino’s when his manager realized they hadn’t heard from him in about an hour. 

The manager went to where Lee was last sent — Branch Avenue in Roanoke Rapids — and found Lee shot to death in his car around 1 a.m.

“He was in the area to deliver pizza, and when deputies arrived, there was no pizza and no money bag,” said Tripp. 

Authorities believe it was a robbery. 

“It felt like someone pulled my heart out of my chest,” said Lee’s sister, Michelle Caputo. 

CBS 17 found out in the past three months, three other pizza delivery drivers have been robbed in the same area. 

“We have reason to believe at this point they could be related and connected,” Tripp said. 

Lee moved to Weldon about a year ago and was a correctional officer in Virginia. His family said he recently lost that job and started working at Domino’s only a week ago. 

“He worked hard. He cared about everybody. He did extra for strangers,” said Caputo. 

The Maryland-native loved video games, dirt bikes, and helping others. 

“It’s just such a tragedy to happen in our community,” Tripp said. “This guy was 21 years old,  had a job, and was doing that job, and was killed. It’s very sad.”

Domino’s released the following statement: 

“We are heartbroken to hear this news and our thoughts are with Mr. Lee’s family friends at this time. Our local franchisee and the store team are working closely with the authorities on this very active investigation. This location is closed today in light of this tragic loss.”

The company is offering a $5,000 reward for information that helps lead to an arrest. 

The sheriff’s office is also applying for an additional $5,000 from the governor’s office to offer as a reward on top of Domino’s. Those offering tips can remain anonymous.

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