Police think Christopher James Locus of Raleigh and the man charged with his death were accomplices in an armed robbery on Shaw University’s campus.
But they are not sure if Locus, 23, was slain during the robbery, when shots were fired, or hours later where he was found on South Blount Street. Police have charged Charles Douglas Mitchell of Durham with murder.
Investigators think Mitchell, 25, and Locus were involved in a robbery on the Shaw campus just after midnight on Sept. 21, according to a series of search warrants filed this week at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office.
Shaw University police contacted city police just before 12:30 a.m. to report that a student had been pistol-whipped. An armed man used his weapon to hold another student “at bay” while the first suspect beat the victim and robbed him of a student identification card and keys, court records show.
Shots were fired, and the two gunmen fled on foot, Raleigh detective S.B. Snowden reported in one of the search warrants.
The victims told police that one of the bandits was a dark-complexioned man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a piece of jewelry over his eye. The second robber was described as a white, or light-complexioned, man wearing a hooded, black- and white-striped sweatshirt, Raleigh detective W.E. Nordstrom wrote in a second search warrant.
Hours later, at about 7:18 a.m., police found Locus shot to death and lying on the ground at South Blount and East Lenoir streets. Someone had shot him in the upper back. He was wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt and had a piece of jewelry over his eye, according to the search warrant.
Early on in their investigation police learned that Locus and Mitchell were friends. Police later learned that Locus was last seen with Mitchell that night as the two men rode together in Mitchell’s black Audi with a passenger window broken out, Nordstrom reported.
Investigators found the Audi at a home in the 500 block of South Bloodworth Street.
By nightfall, detectives found Mitchell, of Durham, at a home in the 500 block of East Davie Street. Mitchell “ultimately confessed” to investigators that he was with Locus during the robbery. “He also admitted to firing warning shots at Christopher Locus,” according to a search warrant.
The detectives talked to witnesses who said Mitchell shot Locus in the back. Mitchell denied that the motive behind the shooting was robbery, court records show.
Investigators obtained search warrants to comb for evidence in Mitchell’s Audi and at the home on East Davie Street where he was arrested.
They discovered that an Audi car key found in Locus’s pants pocket belonged to the car, according to the search warrant.
The detectives also found a wallet, cellphone and iPad inside the Audi. They recovered a pistol grip, .22-caliber rifle, .22-caliber bullets, a small bag of marijuana, a pair of green sneakers and a bottle of bleach from the East Davie Street home, court records show.
Mitchell is in the Wake County jail.