Local News

Suspected robbers shot at high-stakes Raleigh poker game

Posted July 26, 2011 2:46 p.m. EDT
Updated July 29, 2011 7:58 a.m. EDT

— Two men who police believe were trying to rob people at a high-stakes poker game in Raleigh late Monday were shot during a struggle, and one died, police said Tuesday.

Officers responding to a reported robbery at 4809 Sweetbriar Drive, off East Millbrook Road, shortly after 11 p.m. found Brandon Dwain Shelton, 28, dead inside the house, and Brian Matthew Onley, 23, lying on the lawn with a gunshot wound in the arm.

Witnesses told investigators that two men burst into the home wearing masks and carrying guns in an attempt to rob several poker players. A struggle ensued, and the two intruders were shot, police said.

"Both of them had hoods on and ski masks on," a man who called 911 told a dispatcher. "(One) was shot with his own gun."

Neighbors said the homeowner, Gregg Maluchnik, frequently hosted poker games and that Monday night's game was advertised as high-stakes.

Maluchnik, who played baseball at Duke University and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1998, was charged with a misdemeanor gambling offense.

Raleigh police said they haven't been called to the home previously, and neighbors said the poker games usually were quiet affairs that drew crowds but never caused any problems.

"I have seen a number of cars, like something was going on," neighbor Jim Durnin said, adding that he thought it was an occasional Tupperware party.

Neighbor Caren Freundlich said she heard as many as five gunshots late Monday.

"I was hoping it was fireworks," Freundlich said. "I just always tell my kids that this is a safe neighborhood. It's really unsettling that it would happen right here."

Onley, of 4500 Boxwood Road, was taken to WakeMed for treatment of his wound. Upon his release Wednesday, police charged him with 11 counts of armed robbery and two counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He was being held in the Wake County jail under a $1.15 million bond.

Police declined to say whether the men were shot with the same gun or identify who pulled the trigger. Investigators said they are still interviewing witnesses and haven't decided whether anyone will be charged in the shooting.

Shelton served almost two years in prison for 2007 convictions for assault inflicting serious bodily injury and common-law robbery, according to state Department of Correction records. He also has been convicted of larceny and possession of stolen goods in recent years, records show.

Onley was placed on probation last fall after being convicted of assault inflicting serious bodily injury, according to Department of Correction records.