Aberdeen, N.C. — Hoke County authorities said Monday that they are investigating an attempted robbery at an Aberdeen furniture store in which one of the suspected robbers, a teenager, was killed in a struggle with the business owner.
Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said several people wearing masks entered All American Mattress and Furniture, at 9734 Aberdeen Road, at about 8:30 p.m. Friday, armed with a rifle and brass knuckles.
The owner, whose name wasn't released, was able to disarm the robber with the rifle, and in doing so, shot and killed David Ryan Frame, 16.
Three other people fled the business and left in a waiting vehicle.
"All of this happened in a matter of seconds," Peterkin said. "This was a life-and-death situation."
Peterkin said the owner was alone and closing the store when the robbers entered. Frame allegedly pointed the rifle at the owner and demanded money, while someone else beat the owner with brass knuckles.
The sheriff said the store owner is devastated over the shooting and likely will not face charges.
"At this time, there is nothing in the investigation that shows that the owner did anything wrong," Peterkin said.
Sheriff's investigators arrested two people– Amie Lynette Ross and Lewis Vega – in the case Monday afternoon and were still looking for a fourth person.
Ross, 27, of 128 Park Place Mobile Home Park in Raeford, and Vega, 21, of 308 Providence Way in Aberdeen, both face charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony breaking and entering, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and aid and abet of an armed robbery.
Investigators are also looking into how Frame knew the other suspects.
His mother, Tonya Frame, said the allegations are out of character for her son, a student at Flora MacDonald Academy in Red Springs.
She said her son was known to reach out to people in trouble and believes he acted against his will.
"Those three people who were with him – they coerced him somehow," she said. "They threatened my son and my daughter. I know he thought he was protecting them, protecting his family."