GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — On Memorial Day, a Goldsboro family is grieving the loss of their loved one and a military veteran.
Alexander Thomas, 46, was killed during a robbery at a Family Dollar store.
“Nobody deserves this,” said Terra Althoff, who has been Thomas’ partner for years.
She told CBS 17 he worked at the store on Wayne Memorial Drive for two years and worked his way up to become the manager.
Althoff said he never felt unsafe working there.
On Monday, a hastily written “closed” sign was taped to the two front doors of the store.
Other than a couple of police cars in the parking lot in the morning, there was no other sign indicating how Althoff’s life had changed forever.
“I had just gotten off the phone with him,” said explained. “He said he would call me back.”
Goldsboro Police said around 3:15 p.m. Sunday, 24-year-old Aaron Coppedge and 20-year-old Yiheim Fryar went into the Family Dollar, robbed it, and then shot Thomas, who was behind the counter.
“They took him away. He was not ready to die. He had so much to live for. He had so much going on in his life. It’s not fair,” Althoff said through tears.
She said Thomas was shot in the chest.
Now, Althoff and her two daughters, Heidi, 13, and Molly, 15, are mourning the loss of the 12-year Air Force veteran.
“He suffered from PTSD, from deployments. And I think working for the Family Dollar helped change his life around and gave him something more to strive for. He became a store manager and he worked so hard,” she added.
Wearing Thomas’ sweatshirts—which still smelled like him they said—the three are working to figure out life without a father-figure and partner.
“He was my rock. He’s the strong one,” said Althoff. “It’s unreal. I don’t believe it. And it still feels like a nightmare.”
“We were like his children,” said her daughter, Heidi. “It still feels like a dream. I just want to wake up, but I can’t.”
Both Coppedge and Fryar are being held at the Wayne County Detention Center, without bond.
They are charged with armed robbery and murder.
Althoff told CBS 17 she plans to be at their court appearances, hoping for justice.