Roanoke Rapids, N.C. — A convenience store clerk in Roanoke Rapids saved the life of a friend and colleague this week, and may have saved her unborn child as well, authorities say.
Crystal Lockley, 24, had just arrived Monday to start her shift at the New Dixie Mart on U.S. Highway 158. She texted her boyfriend that she wanted to end their relationship, and he responded by coming to the store to attack her, authorities said.
Anthony Jermaine Gilchrist jumped on Lockley, who is two months pregnant with his child, and stabbed her eight times before another clerk jumped in.
"He didn't just stop upon her initial contact with him. They were in absolute combat," said Maj. Bruce Temple of the Halifax County Sheriff's Office.
Jennifer Ruffin tried to tackle Gilchrist and ended up with a cut on her arm for the trouble.
"Ms. Ruffin, in our eyes, is an absolute hero," Temple said, noting that both Lockley and her child might have died had she not intervened.
Deputies tracked Gilchrist to a gas station in Virginia where he had stopped to buy a map. They charged him with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill and battery of an unborn child, a law that's been on the books in North Carolina for about a year.
"This is the first case we've had to incorporate that new law," Temple said. The charge is a misdemeanor, but if the unborn child dies or is born with a defect that can be linked to the attack, it can be increased to a felony.
Gilchrist, 22, of 1025 Mt. Carmel Road in Margarettsville, was jailed in Halifax County without bond. Lockley was recovering in a hospital.