A man charged with murder, two robberies and a rape in Raleigh on Monday was arrested Tuesday in New York City, ending a manhunt that had prompted police to urge residents of a North Raleigh neighborhood to stay indoors.
Kendrick Keyanti Gregory, 21, is accused in an alleged one-man crime spree that began with an armed robbery and shooting in East Raleigh and escalated into a rape and homicide in North Raleigh.
After eluding police searching Raleigh, Gregory was arrested 500 miles north in a vehicle that had been reported stolen from a parking lot in New York.
Gregory does not have a history of violent crime. Court records indicate he was little more than a petty thief whose criminal history consisted mostly of breaking into motor vehicles.
Raleigh police arrested Gregory on Aug. 1 and charged him with breaking into cars and larceny the day before. They added similar charges the next day involving incidents on July 27 and 28.
The charges against Gregory were consolidated last week in Wake County District Court. As part of a plea deal, Gregory agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of breaking and entering a motor vehicle, and the felony larceny charges were dismissed, according to records filed Tuesday at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office.
An active sentence of 6 to 17 months in prison was suspended. Wake District Court Judge Jacqueline Brewer sentenced Gregory to 18 months of supervised probation.
Less than a week later, police allege that Gregory turned violent. Police say the violence began with an armed robbery Monday morning at the Knights Inn hotel on New Bern Avenue. Lenin Alvaringa, 27, was shot in the back and his wallet stolen.
Police were looking for a dark blue BMW that the suspect in the hotel shooting was last seen driving.
Police say Gregory was driving the BMW early Monday evening when he shot Thomas Melvin Durand, 64, in his Mr. Pawn business on Capital Boulevard when Durand encountered him at the door to the shop.
Police said the rape charges come from an attack on a 15-year-old girl shortly after Durand was slain. The rape began about 7:30 p.m. and is thought to have taken place in the vicinity of Wake Forest Road and Oak Forest Drive, police said.
Police officers poured into the Brentwood neighborhood off Capital Boulevard after Gregory was spotted there about 10 p.m. Monday. They found a blue BMW and urged residents to stay indoors until dawn. At one point, police thought Gregory stole a Toyota Corolla from Greywood Drive, but it’s not clear how he got to New York.
Police said Gregory did not know Durand and that robbery was a motive for the shooting. People who knew Durand described him as a community-oriented person who was always willing to help. He enjoyed the company of several older officers with the Raleigh Police Department who sometimes stopped by his shop.
“Everybody liked him. He was a great guy,” said Kim McCauley, a former Wake County magistrate who now works in Pitt County. “He would always help people. If my husband had questions about something he’d say, ‘I’m going to see Tom.’ I would tell him, ‘Well, Tom will steer you right. Tom will give you good advice.’”
McCauley said Durand and his family were her neighbors at the Timberlake subdivision, near Skycrest Road.
“He and his wife moved into the subdivision the same time that we did in 1991,” McCauley said. “They had two little girls, and his wife was pregnant with their third daughter. I watched them grow up.”
McCauley said the Durands moved to Franklin County “years ago.”
McCauley recalled that Durand would close the pawn shop between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., about the time he was shot. She said she was surprised that Durand was not able to protect himself because “he always had a gun on his hip.”
Police charged Gregory with murder, first-degree rape, two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.