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Community rallies around store clerk, husband shot in robbery

Posted June 30, 2010

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— Moore County residents rallied Tuesday night to support a 75-year-old store clerk and her husband who were shot during a robbery a day earlier.

More than 50 people held a vigil outside the Exxon Short Stop Food Mart, at U.S. Highway 1 and Camp Easter Road in Lakeview, where Grace and Angus Gene Kelly were shot.

"You got to admit, this is pretty incredible to have this many people out on a Tuesday night at 11 o'clock to support a friend," family friend, Mark Metcalf, who organized the vigil, said.

Billy Chavis, who has known the couple since childhood, said that Angus Kelly, 78, waited in the parking lot whenever Grace Kelly was the last one at the store, where she's worked for nearly 30 years.

"He comes every time she closes, just to protect her. It's his wife," Chavis said.

Investigators said that late Monday, Angus Kelly drove up to the store to see three men robbing his wife at gunpoint. He fired a shotgun through the window, striking one man in the face. Investigators said the two other men used Grace Kelly as a shield, prompting an exchange of gunfire in which Angus Kelly was shot twice in the side and his wife in the arm.

Grace Kelly was treated and released from Moore Regional Hospital. Angus Kelly was in serious condition at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill late Tuesday.

Participants in the vigil collected money to help pay for the couple's medical care.

"Hospital bills come regardless of anything," said Metcalf, standing on the bumper of a Ford pickup to address the crowd. "Remind each other, encourage each other to give. This is going to be a tough battle for Gene and Grace."

Vigil held for couple wounded in store robbery Vigil held for couple wounded in store robbery

Vigil participants said the Kellys are a fixture of the communities of Lakeview and Vass – "real good country people," Chavis called them.

"Just good, solid, hard-working people," said Leon Keith, owner of Keith's Hardware.

Angus Kelly is a farmer who sells eggs and produce, Chavis said. Many at the vigil recalled Grace Kelly as a mother figure.

"Grace knows everybody in this county, and if something is happening, she'll ask you about it, ask you how you're doing," Chavis said.

"I can guarantee Grace probably raised half this community," Metcalf said. "I'm sure some of you tried to buy beer before you was 21, and she busted you, didn't you?"

People at the vigil also said they want justice for the couple.

"I think it's terrible that somebody would do something like that," Tonya Keith said.

The injured suspect – Randy Joel Williams, 17, of Southern Pines – was in critical condition at Moore Regional Hospital Tuesday. Two others – Leroy Richard Medley, 20, of Southern Pines, and Demarcus James Dennison, 18, of Polkton – were placed in the Moore County Detention Center under separate $250,000 bonds.

They face two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and one count each of first-degree kidnapping and armed robbery.

Authorities are searching for a suspected getaway driver, whose identity hasn't been released. Sheriff Lane Carter said the men might have committed a series of armed robberies from Moore County to Charlotte over the past several months.

Tonya Keith, who said she isn't close to the Kellys but knows them as members of her community, promised that the couple will get support as long as they need it.

"We're close-knit folks," she said. The vigil, she said, shows "that we believe in one another, that we're close and we have a strong spiritual backing."

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  • United Atheist Front Jul 1, 2010

    The comments by Stopthehaters is indicative of why there are still racial problems in our country. This has nothing to do with lynchings or whether the offenders were black or not. A criminal act is a criminal act the thugs that committed these crimes should not be made out as victims.

    Mr. Kelly acted heroically, within his rights, according to the law and the fact that he went to the immediate aid of his lifelong partner is a testament to his integrity.

  • BumpyKnuckles Jun 30, 2010

    Well now it seems we have a hero in our midst. Sometimes the true crime is the indifferance of good people. I am glad that one of the purps was shot, and we should hold a public exicutuion for the rest. No strain on the tax payers dime and a deffinitive message to the rest of the would be thugs. I can truely say that Mr.Kelly is a hero and an example of what a real man should be in America today. Prayers and blessings to the Kelly family.

  • Antivenin Jun 30, 2010

    So these young punks think they are tough--holding a gun to a 75-year-old woman. Wow. Guess you thought you had an easy target until Gene let you have it!! Way to go Gene. And Grace was so cool under fire! I wish Gene could've been able to injure more than one. I am sorry he got hurt, and I hope for him a full and quick recovery, as well as for his wife, Grace. I have known the Kellys all my life. I wish I never had to know of the existence of those four violent, pathetic punks. And kudos to the Highway Patrol for their quick intervention with the helicoper and their fantastic equipment, as well as the Moore County Sheriff's manpower. It turned out as best as it could under the circumstances. The defendants should have to pay all kinds of restitution.

  • nano Jun 30, 2010

    My prayers go out to the Kellys. I'm hoping WRAL will set up a fund for them to cover hospital bills.

  • jackieflash42 Jun 30, 2010

    thugs from the hood doing what they do best..terrorizing innocent people.

  • atom_ant Jun 30, 2010

    Mr. Kelly, my new HERO was using a single-shot shotgun against 4 young punks with multi-shot hand guns. This mountain of a man being outnumbered and outgunned proves that good can over-come evil. Mr. Kelly, when you get well, I've got a 12ga. semi-auto shotgun I'll sell you for one-dollar.

  • jackieflash42 Jun 30, 2010

    and the cycle of violence continues within the black community ..

  • cth1 Jun 30, 2010

    stopthehaters...... your screen name is VERY hypocritical!!

    You're the HATER in this situation!! The Kelly's were doing the LEGAL thing... the thugs were doing something ILLEGAL!! HELLO?? I haven't read a single thing about lynching anyone on this story!
    Get a life and stop trying to stir up drama by throwing the race card!! It wouldn't matter if they were 3 white guys, chinese guys or mexicans... they were THUGS robbing an elderly lady at gunpoint!! Get a JOB instead of stealing from innocent people!!

    Prayers for the Kelly's! I hope Mr. Kelly makes a full recovery!!
    CDFOXEDISTO..We're praying for your Uncle...he's a true HERO!!!

  • beachboater Jun 30, 2010

    From the profile.

    about stopthehaters
    Al sharpton never ever let them know what you are up two

    Yep, never let anyone know what you are up TWO. Or THREE either I guess.

    When you mention Al Sharpton in your profile (a lifetime hero / role model for you?), you pretty much set the stage for your current comments.

    Mr. Kelly would / should have shot whoever was robbing his wife at gunpoint whether he be black, white, green, blue or yellow.

  • Another Voice Jun 30, 2010

    Stopthehaters, This has nothing to do with race! If this situation was reverse, people would feel the same. I'm AA and feel no sympathy for the punks that disrupted the lives of the Kelly's. The real tragedy is that the Kelly's and rest of the taxpayers will have to take care of these punks while they sit in prison. Where is the justice in that?

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