Local News

Orange sheriff seeks help solving friends' fatal shooting

Posted January 26, 2012
Updated January 30, 2012

— The Orange County Sheriff's Office is trying to figure out who killed two friends – a retired deputy and the owner of a Cedar Grove thrift store – Wednesday afternoon.

Deputies responded to the Week in Treasures store, at 2800 Mill Creek Road, and found the two men with multiple gunshot wounds. Store owner Phillip Johnson, 52, was dead at the scene. Retired Orange County sheriff's deputy Alexander "Skip" Wade, 68, was taken to Duke University Medical Center, where he died.

Investigators said the cash register drawer was stolen.

No one is in custody, authorities said, and they have not released any information about possible suspects.

Authorities say Wade retired about a decade ago from the sheriff's office and left his position in good standing. His son, Lemario Wade, was arrested and charged with murder in Mebane in 2010. Authorities said they don't believe his son's past is connected to his death.

Skip Wade was at the store Wednesday, visiting his friend, Johnson, when the shooting happened. The two men often played pool together and traveled to Las Vegas after winning a regional tournament, according to family members.

Alexander "Skip" Wade and Phillip Johnson Sheriff seeks help solving friends' fatal shooting

The previous owner of the store, William King, was shot and killed there in 2004, but authorities said they don't believe the two cases are connected. King's murder is believed to be random, and the case remains unsolved.

Nephew Randy Wade remembered his uncle as a "real positive role model" and "somebody to look up to."

"He was a man's man, you know, life of the party, didn't meet no strangers (or) make no enemies," Randy Wade said.

The State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to assist the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Anyone with information is urged to call Captain Daniel at 919-644-3050. Callers may remain anonymous.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Con Amor brings luv and laughter Jan 27, 2012


    suspect caught.

  • schooldoctor Jan 27, 2012

    We are not talking about WalMart this is a very small establishment, when the case is cracked you will be surprised to learn what small amount of money was taken in lieu of two lives. Televised hangings once a month in front of the courthouse that way prisoners in jail can watch instead of lifting weights. Then have the prisoners bury the dead!

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 27, 2012

    "Life in prison and no parole when caught." - wildcat

    I'd prefer to have the guilty swifty executed.

  • whatusay Jan 26, 2012

    These type stores should have a big sign outside saying,
    "SMILE WHEN YOU COME INSIDE, YOU'RE ON CANDID CAMERA" It might make a criminal think twice????

  • Uhavenoclu Jan 26, 2012

    It's also only an hour away from VA,maybe passer throughers?

  • doubletrouble Jan 26, 2012

    Who wants to bet this wasn't these "perps" first offense, on probation, etc? It's time for "hard time" to be hard time. For life to mean life, and death means you're outta here. Prisons need to be the last place you want to be, or EVER go back to. Those on minor offenses, and want to learn..sure, teach them a trade skill so they have an opportunity to make it on the outside, some inmate do well...some, you just need to throw away the key on.

  • Uhavenoclu Jan 26, 2012

    Who would rob a thrift store?,there's 1 big clue right there where to look.
    There were at least 2 people in the store,the owners wife and friend,they should have seen someone come in or leave in a hurry?.

  • Capt Mercury Jan 26, 2012

    That store location is pretty remote. It's past history makes it look like it is cursed! Anyone who tried to operate a business there in the future does so at their peril. The cops ain't gonna protect it.

  • Anonymous14 Jan 26, 2012

    Wildcat you mean life in prison like the guy in this headline also today on WRAL .. "Convicted Durham rapist serving life sentence gets parole".

    We need to stop this moratorium on the death sentence. We as a society worry more about the rights of the accused than those of the victims that they kill, rape, etc.

  • mrsox05 Jan 26, 2012

    Tony- I had no intent on being disrespectful. I apologize for miss-speaking. I did not see your original post until after my second post. I was incorrect in my statement and meant no harm at all. Sorry you took offense.