Local News

Two dead in Rocky Mount restaurant shooting

Posted April 26, 2012 2:44 p.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2012 6:34 p.m. EDT

— Rocky Mount police are investigating an apparent murder-suicide that happened at a local restaurant Thursday morning.

Police responding around 11:30 a.m. to a report of a shooting at Westridge Grill, at 3639 Sunset Ave., found Cynthia Jeanette Joyner, 41, shot to death inside the restaurant, where she worked.

Police found Carlos Whitaker, 37, of Rocky Mount, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in some woods behind the restaurant.

Their bodies have been taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville for autopsies.

Although police say there are not looking for anyone in connection with the shooting, they are asking anyone with information about it to contact the Rocky Mount Police Department at 252-972-1411 or Twin County Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111.

Investigators called the shooting a domestic violence situation but did not say how Whitaker and Joyner were connected.

A son of Joyner's, however, said the two were married but that they had been estranged for the past few months.

A mother of four, Joyner had worked as a waitress at Westridge Grill and was getting ready for the lunch rush Thursday when, police said, Whitaker walked in, went straight to her and fired multiple shots.

A crowd of family, friends and customers gathered at the restaurant Thursday to grieve and wonder what caused the shooting to happen.

"She is gorgeous. She's just a beautiful person, and this was just totally not necessary to be taken away from her children, her family and her mother," said Cynthia Kent, a friend of Joyner's.

Another of Joyner's sons, Melton Battle, who also works at Westridge Grill, did not want to talk about Whitaker, and Kent said she didn't know much about him.

Battle did want to talk about his mother.

"I love my mom, but she's in a better place. So, I just have to be strong for everybody else," he said. "I look just like my mom, so I'll be a shining light for her."