Police: Walgreens shooting suspect lives two blocks from crime scene

Wake County News
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GARNER, N.C. (WNCN) – Police obtained and served a search warrant late Thursday afternoon of a man accused of shooting two employees at a nearby pharmacy.

Investigators identified 60-year-old Stephen Denning as the suspect in a double-shooting at the Walgreens located at 1116 U.S. Highway 70 West in Garner.

Denning’s house is two blocks away on Henry Drive. A half-dozen Garner Police officers put on gloves and entered Denning’s home around 4:15 p.m.

Cpt. Joe Binns said 911 dispatchers received calls about a shooting at the Walgreens shortly before 10 a.m.

“When our officers arrived, we located two gunshot victims in the rear, in the pharmacy area,” Binns said.

Investigators determined Denning fired shots which struck 31-year-old Sarah Wright and 33-year-old Brandon Gordon.

Co-workers said Wright is a pharmacist and Gordon is a pharmacy tech. Gordon’s mother arrived at the pharmacy around 10:30 a.m., got word from co-workers that he was at WakeMed, and she raced to the hospital.

Police said late Thursday afternoon that Wright, Gordon, and Denning were all hospitalized at WakeMed.

Officers captured Denning at a Golden Corral restaurant less than two miles from the pharmacy. Binns said an observant Wake County deputy spotted Denning’s vehicle.

Investigators said the deputy chased Denning and shot him in a parking lot near the restaurant.

Employees told CBS 17 they believed Denning wanted drugs, but police did not comment about any such specifics.

“We’re just not sure of a motive. We just don’t know what the reason was,” Binns said.

“When he left here, he was a danger. He was a danger to anybody he came in contact with and we’re just grateful that an alert deputy was able to stop that threat up there and keep anybody else from getting hurt.”

None of the customers here were harmed.

Police closed the store for the day. Crime scene tape remained posted around the building early Thursday evening.

People who needed to pick up medicine learned they need to come back later.

“I told my husband, I said I’m going to run up to Walgreens to pick up a prescription, and while I’m there, I’m going to get the kid’s Valentine,” Elzinia Williams said. “They always have a nice little selection for the children. That’s why I came and then I saw all of you guys here.”

Several local and regional managers for Walgreens spent much of the day at the store. The supervisors and police officers told workers who weren’t witnesses to go home, but some stayed to see things through.

“They’re dealing with a lot of stress. Anybody that’s been involved or witnessed an incident like this is going to have some trauma to them,” Binns said.

Wake County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Eric Curry said the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is involved in the investigation because “an officer was involved in the arrest.” 

A statement from SomeCorral LLC, a Golden Corral Franchise, said that someone may have been shot in their parking lot:

“We are aware that a person may have been shot in our parking lot and police are on the scene. We have no further information and refer you to the authorities.”

Walgreens released the following statement to CBS 17:

“Our first concern is the safety of our team members and customers who were in the store at the time as well as our team members who were injured. We are assessing the situation and are thankful to the first responders. We refer you to law enforcement for information about the incident and will provide additional information about our store as we learn more.”

Police have not released information on the severity of the suspect’s injuries.

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