RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – No charges will be filed against a Knightdale woman who shot a fleeing shoplifting suspect when he entered her office building on Sept. 18, the Wake County district attorney said Monday.
Deondrea Branch, 24, of Clayton is accused of stealing 10 bras worth $150 from the Walmart located in the 7000 block of Knightdale Boulevard and then running from Knightdale police officers.
Branch ran across the street and entered an office building, police said. Security footage showed Branch hitting a locked door six times before it busted open, allowing him to enter a CPA’s office.
Once inside the CPA’s office, Branch encountered the business owner, Connie Wells, police said.RELATED: Suspect fleeing Walmart shot by woman in nearby building, Knightdale police say
Wells, a concealed carry permit holder, was working alone when Branch entered the office.
Wells told police she tried to call 911 but couldn’t get the phone to connect. It was at that point that Wells said she got her revolver.
She then saw Branch moving towards her, the DA’s office said. Branch did not stop despite Wells yelling at him to stop.
The DA’s office said Wells feared for her life and fired one shot at Branch – striking him in the neck.
Mrs. Wells reasonably believed her life to be in danger and therefore was justified in using force in self-defense. Therefore this matter has been closed with no criminal charges for the use of that force,” Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said in a release.
At last check, Branch was still in the hospital. His mother said he may never walk again.
Police have not said what charges Branch will face once he’s released from the hospital.
Wells’ attorney, Damon Chetson, released a statement on her behalf that read in part:
Ms. Wells used force only after exhausting other options. Backed into a corner of her office and after screaming at him to stop, Ms. Wells fired a single shot at Mr. Branch as he was approximately 10 feet from her.
As the District Attorney has indicated, Ms. Wells’ action on September 18, 2017 was entirely lawful and consistent with North Carolina law.
Mr. Branch’s decisions led to a traumatic outcome for him and for Connie Wells. She will never feel entirely safe in her office again.
Ms. Wells thanks law enforcement, in particular the Knightdale Police Department, who responded quickly to the scene, and thanks the Wake County District Attorney whose office, along with police, conducted a thorough investigation and review of the facts of September 18, 2017.