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‘An angry customer shot me.’ 911 calls reveal panic at Walgreens in Garner.

Frantic victims call 911 after being shot at Garner Walgreens

Listen to edited frantic calls to 911 after two people were shot at a Walgreens store in Garner on Thursday morning, Feb. 14, 2019 according to police. A suspect was reportedly apprehended at a nearby Golden Corral restaurant.
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Listen to edited frantic calls to 911 after two people were shot at a Walgreens store in Garner on Thursday morning, Feb. 14, 2019 according to police. A suspect was reportedly apprehended at a nearby Golden Corral restaurant.

A 60-year-old man has been charged after two employees were shot at a Walgreens store in Garner on Thursday morning.

Police charged Stephen Allen Denning with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He was apprehended shortly after the shooting outside a Golden Corral restaurant about 2 miles from the drug store.

Sarah Wright, 31, of Clayton, and Brandon Gordon, 33, of Garner were shot about 9:50 a.m. in the pharmacy area of the store at 1116 W. U.S. 70 near Timber Drive, police said.

Watson and Gordon, were being treated at WakeMed. One shooting victim was in critical condition, according to police, and another was “reported to stable.”

Denning was also being treated at WakeMed, but his condition was not immediately clear. A Wake County sheriff’s deputy fired a gun during Denning’s apprehension, a spokesman for the office said.

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Garner Police stand watch outside the Walgreens on US 70 after two people were shot inside the store on Thursday, February 14, 2019. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

Police said they were still working to determine a motive in the case. One of the workers who was shot called 911 and said she knew the shooter, describing him as an “angry customer.”

“A customer shot me in the pharmacy,” the caller said. “Please send someone.”

“Were they trying to hold you up?” the dispatcher asked.

“No, just an angry customer shot me,” the caller said.

Another customer at the pharmacy’s drive-through window called 911 and said she heard two or three gunshots inside the store. Then she heard someone scream, “Get me out of here,’” she said.

Seconds later, another 911 caller told a dispatcher that she was on the phone with a pharmacy employee when she heard a gun.

“It was like, ‘Bang, bang, bang, bang bang,’” the caller said.

Denning was taken into custody in the parking lot of Golden Corral near the intersection of U.S. 70 and Tryon Road in Raleigh, police said.

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Raleigh Police, the Wake County Sheriff’s department and CCBI investigate outside the Golden Corral on US 401 south of downtown Raleigh, Thursday, February 14, 2019 after a suspect in a shooting at a Walgreens in Garner was apprehended here. The suspect allegedly injured two employees at the Walgreens. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation will review the incident because a deputy fired his weapon, said Eric Curry, a spokesman for the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

“Investigators are trying to determine if the suspect fired his weapon,” Curry said.

Walgreens, an Illinois-based company, said in a statement that the store will remain closed while police investigate.

“Pharmacy patients who normally use this location can have their medications filled at our nearby store located at 825 Timber Drive in Garner,” the company said.

Walgreens and Golden Corral, which is based in Raleigh, both said counselors would be available for employees affected by the shooting.

“The restaurant was closed when the suspect was apprehended and no guests were in danger,” Golden Corral said in a statement.” We have made counselors available for our co-workers who were in the restaurant. The safety of our guests and co-workers is always our first priority.”

Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.


Thomasi McDonald is a veteran journalist who writes about crime and public safety issues.


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