Walmart bra-theft suspect didn't deserve to be shot, family says
Posted September 27
Updated September 28
Knightdale, N.C. — More than one week after a woman shot a larceny suspect at her CPA firm after stealing 10 bras from a nearby Walmart, the man's family is demanding she be charged.
Authorities were called to the Walmart at 7106 Knightdale Boulevard on September 18 for a reported larceny when the suspect fled from the store on foot.
Officers chased the man, identified as Deandre Branch, 24, of Clayton, into C.H. Wells, CPA office building at 7048 Knightdale Blvd.
Once there, Branch forced his way inside the two-story building, which houses multiple businesses, and encountered 54-year-old Connie Wells inside the building.
Police are not releasing details about the encounter, but the incident left Branch with a single gunshot wound.
Wells, the owner of the business and a concealed handgun permitee, was working alone when the incident occurred.
Branch had a criminal history, including an assault charge against a woman. He is also on probation fora drug charge.
But Willie Mitchener, Branch's stepfather, said he believes something doesn't add up, and despite what he did, Branch should not be in this hospital.
"Seems like the more I learned about the whole situation, the madder I got" Mitchener said.
He said Branch, the father of a 4-year-old and 2-year-old, is still in the hospital and hoping to walk again.
"He is starting to gain a lot of his own body strength," he said.
Mitchener said he and his wife were just minutes away from the scene when they got the call.
"We were actually in Bible study that Monday night, and for us not even know, it was less than five minutes from where we were," he said.
Mitchener does not believes Branch was a threat to Wells.
"You're holding a firearm, so where is the danger at when, you know, you don't see a weapon on him, so you feel like you would have the upper hand anyway," Mitchener said. "But more or less you didn't give him a chance to respond anyway. This is a scared kid looking to hide somewhere."
Mitchener described Branch as nonconfrontational, and he wants Wells to be held accountable for the shooting.
"His life has been dramatically altered, while she still has the choice to go do whatever she wants to do," he said.
The case is being investigated by the Wake County District Attorney.
WRAL reached out to the Knightdale Police Department Wednesday, and a spokesperson said a joint statement will eventually be released with the DA. Reporters also reached out the attorney representing Wells and have not heard back.