Local News

Orange sheriff seeks help solving friends' fatal shooting

Posted January 26, 2012 12:29 p.m. EST
Updated January 30, 2012 3:18 p.m. EST

— 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.

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.