Local News

Restaurant Shooting Victim Remembered

Posted June 6, 2006 12:45 p.m. EDT

— The Circus Restaurant at

1600 Wake Forest Road

was open again for business on Monday -- just two days after a Clayton man was found dead inside.

Investigators said Leroy Jernigan, 41, was cleaning the Raleigh restaurant when someone shot him in the head. The restaurant's manager found Jernigan when she arrived at work on Saturday.

"It just stunned me," said Crystal Edwards, who lived two doors away from Jernigan and his family for about four years. "I didn't know what to think."

According to people who knew him, Jernigan was a big man with a big personality and an even bigger heart. The married father of two was always willing to help those in need.

Many people who knew him said he was the hardest-working man they knew.

"He worked all of the time," Edwards said. "Doing anything to make a dollar. He'd work and go to church. That's all he did."

Raleigh police said Jernigan owned a cleaning service and was hired to clean the restaurant after it closed. They said the motive for his shooting may have been robbery because his red 2001 Dodge Ram Quad Cab with North Carolina license plate


was missing.

The truck was recovered Monday night on Gardner Street after a WRAL viewer contacted authorities, Raleigh police said. A utility trailer that had been pulled by the truck was found Saturday night on Tillery Place.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding the investigation to contact the Raleigh Police Department's Detective Division at



Meanwhile, a wreath on the door of the Jernigan family's Clayton home gives visitors information about funeral arrangements -- visitation on Tuesday and the funeral on Wednesday in Benson.

Friends said it will no doubt be a service that is well-attended by those who remember their jovial friend.

"He was funny," Edwards said. "He always had jokes, always joked around all of the time."