Local News

Suspect In Store Clerk Beating Surrenders To Police

Posted October 5, 2005 6:44 a.m. EDT

— A suspect who police believe severely injured a convenience store clerk in Raleigh late Friday surrendered to police Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Police said Barry Terrance Cross, 19, was one of four people seen in a surveillance video from Han-Dee Hugo's on South New Hope Road in Raleigh.

Cross and three other people, according to authorities, got into a confrontation with the clerk, Francis Chege, 30. According to police, Cross hit Chege, who then hit his head on the pavement when he fell.

"It appears that the suspect struck the victim, and that the victim went down," said Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue. "And when he went down, he hit his head on the pavement -- he, the victim, hit his head on the pavement."

Investigators say Chege and a young woman in the group had a dispute, possibly over selling her beer, which led to the assault.

According to 911 tapes from Friday night, Chege called from the store to report someone underage was trying to buy beer. The next call was from a customer trying to get help after she found Chege on the ground.

Chege is listed in critical condition at WakeMed. His family members are keeping vigil.

"(There's) a lot of praying, so that we can have the strength and for the Lord to do His work," said Patrick Chege, the victim's cousin.

Police said media coverage of the case contributed to Cross turning himself in to authorities. Family and friends of the suspect say Cross had no idea how seriously Chege had been injured and turned himself in after seeing the news coverage.

"This was a case that was actually successfully cleared because of the television news coverage," Sughrue said.

Cross, who has no prior criminal record, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. He is in the Wake County Jail on $1 million bond.

Investigators questioned the other three people in the video, but said Wednesday they would not be charged.

While relieved that Cross surrendered, Chege's sister said she hopes her brother will some day be able to tell his side of what happened.

"I'm very hopeful that Francis is going to come out from the coma," Sally Ngugi said. "He's going to talk to us and tell the story (about) what happened."