Local News

Wilson Residents Turn Out to Support Family of Slain Restaurant Manager

Posted May 22, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— One week after an assistant manager waskilled during an attempted robbery, the community of Wilson is reaching out to help the family he left behind.

Hundreds of customers lined up for the chance to help John Rushton's family at a benefit buffet lunch. Among them, Governor Jim Hunt and his wife Carolyn.

John Rushton was killed last Sunday during an attempted robbery at the Pizza Inn on Ward Boulevard. The 44-year-old assistant manager left behind a wife and four children.

"John left a handicapped son who is 22, three daughters, twins who are age five, and a daughter age three. John didn't have any insurance so they just have a lot of needs," says Ted Rhodes of Diversified Foods.

Not even the organizers of this fundraiser could have predicted the enormous show of support.

Every penny that customers spend on Sunday will be donated to Rushton's family.

Many people wanted to contribute more than the price of their $6 buffet. They donated cash and checks that will also help the Rushtons.

Employees are donating their time. Servers are even donating their tips.

"We all miss John," says employee Nikki Closson. "It's good to see the community turn out for something like this because we were expecting a lot of people, but not this many."

The two suspects in Rushton's murder are behind bars. Ronald Bullock and Terry Robinson were captured after a barrage of tips to police.

At Sunday's fundraiser, Wilson residents are again proving their generosity and sense of community.

"I think it's wonderful that so many people came out," says restaurant customer Barbara Jones. "It's just a tragedy that it had to be something like this for so many people to respond."

The fundraiser brought in $23,000 Sunday. You can still help by making a donation to the John Rushton Memorial Fund at any BB&T location.