Local News

Police Arrest Third Suspect In Deadly Wilson Restaurant Shooting

Posted July 26, 2005

— Authorities have arrested a third suspect in connection with a shooting at a Pizza Hut in Wilson that left one employee dead and another injured.

Wilson police say early Sunday morning, Corey Whitted and two other men, 19-year-old Antonio Barnes and 20-year-old John Holden Jr., shot two employees working inside the restaurant during an attempted robbery.

One person, 20-year-old Brandon Bass, died at the scene. Another person, 18-year-old Ceasar Raya, was seriously injured and taken to Pitt Memorial Hospital, where he is recovering.

A third employee, who was in the restaurant at the time of the shootings, was not injured. No customers were around at the time of the attempted robbery.

Investigators say Whitted was a cook at the restaurant. He was arrested at the Wilson Police Department Monday morning and charged with conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, attempted first degree murder and first degree murder.

Whitted has a prior criminal history that includes trespassing and assault on a female; he was supposed to be in court this week for resisting a public officer.

Barnes and Holden, who appeared in court Monday, are also behind bars, charged with first-degree murder and attempted robbery.

Investigators believe the three suspects went into the Pizza Hut shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday with their faces covered, armed with at least one rifle and a shotgun.

Their intention, authorities believe, was to rob the restaurant, but when Bass or Raya recognized Whitted as a fellow employee who had just left work hours earlier, police say gunfire erupted from the trio.

The shooting is taking a toll on friends, coworkers and the Bass family. Bass's uncle told WRAL that his nephew loved music and was planning to go to college.

A manager at the Pizza Hut said Bass was a very likeable employee.

A small yellow flower arrangement hung on the restaurant's door Monday in memory of Bass. Employees had also draped black crepe paper around the handrail by the entrance in memory.

The restaurant will remain closed until further notice.

There will be a memorial service Wednesday; Bass will be cremated.


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