The following vignettes describe the circumstances for killings not ruled self-defense by private individuals with permits to carry concealed handguns. The incidents below all occurred in North Carolina. The descriptions include the current, known status of any charges filed against the concealed carry killer as reported by news sources as well as noting instances where the perpetrator committed suicide.
The Violence Policy Center welcomes any new information regarding the status of any case (with verifiable source(s)). Use this link to contact the VPC: http://www.vpc.org/contact.htm.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Robert Anthony Granato PENDING
Date: August 6, 2019
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On August 6, 2019, concealed handgun permit holder Robert Anthony Granato, 23, allegedly shot and killed Julius Randolph “Juice” Sampson, 32, following an argument at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. Granato and his friend Landon Smith entered BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse around 3:00 PM. Before entering the restaurant, Granato placed the 9mm handgun that he was carrying in the glove compartment of his car. Granato later claimed that he forgot he was also carrying a .22 Derringer. Later, Sampson and another man came into the restaurant for lunch and were seated near the other two men. After having several alcoholic drinks, Granato complained that there was not enough alcohol in his drinks, while calling female staffers “fat bes” and “a sexist term referring to female genitalia,” according to prosecutors. Sampson defended the women and Granato replied that it was a free country and he could say whatever he wanted. Granato and Smith were asked to leave, and Sampson and his friend also left around the same time. According to the order from the judge setting Granato’s bond, Granato used the N-word toward Sampson after they left the restaurant and the confrontation became physical. Granato’s defense attorney claims that Sampson was on top of Granato and Granato only shot Sampson in self defense. Granato was charged with first degree murder.
Source: “Before fatal Hanes Mall shooting, man was being choked and hit, attorney argues. Prosecutors say killing was premeditated,” journalnow.com, January 31, 2020.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Bob Owens SUICIDE
Date: May 8, 2017
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On May 8, 2017, concealed handgun permit holder Bob Owens, 46, was found dead near a stop sign outside his subdivision in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Shortly before his death, Owens posted a message on Facebook saying, “In the end, it turns out that I’m not strong. I’m a coward, and a selfish son of a b—-. I’m sorry.” Owens was the editor of the pro-gun blog BearingArms.com, and had been writing about gun rights and firearms since 2007. Owens was also a certified firearms instructor with roughly 400 hours of professional training classes according a biography on BearingArms.com. According to a tweet from Owens on his Twitter account, he renewed his concealed carry permit in December 2012 and it would have been valid for five years.
Source: “Bearing Arms editor Bob Owens dead from apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Washington Post, May 9, 2017; post by Bob Owens (@bob_owens), twitter.com, 1:18 PM December 28, 2012; North Carolina G.S. Section 14-415.11(b).
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Kendall Rachard Thompson PENDING
Date: February 23, 2016
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On February 23, 2016, concealed handgun permit holder Kendall Rachard Thompson, 22, allegedly shot and killed Mohammad Waseem, 38. Thompson called 911 from his home, claiming that he was attacked by Waseem, his ex-girlfriend’s uncle. According to Thompson’s attorney, Thompson’s ex-girlfriend and her aunt and uncle came to his residence to pick up a necklace. That somehow escalated to a shooting. Waseem was pronounced dead at the scene from a gunshot wound. Thompson was arrested and charged with second degree murder.
Source: “More details emerge in High Point homicide,” myfox8.com, February 24, 2016.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Marvin Lee CONVICTED
Date: January 22, 2016
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On January 22, 2016, concealed handgun permit holder Marvin Lee, 27, allegedly shot and killed Jefferson Heavner, 26, following a car accident during a winter storm. According to Sheriff Coy Reid, Lee may have been impaired when his car slid off an icy road during the storm. Heavner and two other men stopped to help. According to authorities, Lee reacted violently when someone attempted to take his car keys. Lee then allegedly shot Heavner multiple times with a handgun while standing over him. Lee was arrested by SWAT team officers who found him unconscious in his car. Lee woke up during the arrest and allegedly resisted officers. Lee’s permit to carry a concealed weapon was issued on May 18, 2012 and expires on May 16, 2017. Lee was charged with murder and attempted murder.
UPDATE: On January 24, 2018, Marvin Lee pleaded guilty to second degree murder and two counts of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. Lee was sentenced to 11 to 13 and a half years in prison on the second degree murder charge and four to six years for the two counts of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle.
Source: “Claremont man pleads guilty to 2016 murder, victim’s family gains closure,” hickoryrecord.com, January 25, 2018; “Man accused in Good Samaritan death passed test to carry concealed gun,” Charlotte Observer, January 30, 2016.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Craig Stephen Hicks CONVICTED
Date: February 10, 2015
People Killed: 3
Circumstances: On February 10, 2015, concealed handgun permit holder Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, allegedly shot and killed Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, Barakat’s wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. All three victims were found dead from gunshot wounds to the head in the Finley Forest Condominium complex where Barakat and his wife lived. Hicks also lived in the same complex. According to Hicks’ wife, the shooting may have resulted over an ongoing feud over parking at the condominium complex. She said that Hicks came home Tuesday night and became upset that a car belonging to one of the victims was parked in his parking place. The incident is also being investigated as a possible hate crime because the victims were Muslim. According to an attorney for Hicks’ wife, Hicks was a “champion” of “Second Amendment rights.” Hicks turned himself in to authorities and was charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
UPDATE: On June 12, 2019, Craig Hicks pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree murder, as well as a charge of shooting into an occupied dwelling. He was sentenced to three consecutive counts of life in prison without parole on the murder charges, plus 64-89 months in prison on the charge of shooting into an occupied dwelling.
Source: “BREAKING: Craig Hicks pleads guilty to murder of three Muslim students,” dailytarheel.com, June 12, 2019; “Wife of alleged NC killer: He ‘believed everyone was equal’,” cbsnews.com, February 11, 2015; “Wife of triple-shooting suspect said crime not motivated by bias,” wral.com, February 11, 2015; “Three Muslims killed in shooting near UNC; police, family argue over motive,” Washington Post, February 11, 2015.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Richard Albert Nielsen SUICIDE
Date: February 6, 2015
People Killed: 2 (including shooter)
Circumstances: On February 6, 2015, concealed handgun permit holder Richard Albert Nielsen, 62, shot and killed Russell Allen Mitchell, 38, and wounded Jessica Lynn Modolo, 29, with a Ruger .380 pistol before turning the handgun on himself. According to the District Attorney, Nielsen, Mitchell, and Modolo were in a business relationship that had turned sour. Nielsen approached Mitchell at a gas station at the Monkey Junction Walmart and called him by name. When Mitchell turned around Nielsen shot him once in the head at point-blank range. Nielsen then shot Modolo in the head and abdomen as she sat in her car at the gas pump. Modolo’s six-year-old son, and Mitchell’s nine- and seven-year-old daughters were also in the car. Modolo, who was four months pregnant at the time of the shooting was in critical condition and her unborn child died. Nielsen purchased the pistol less than an hour before the shooting.
Source: “Legal weapon, tragic outcome,” starnewsonline.com, February 10, 2015; “Murder-suicide stemmed from business dispute; unborn child dies,” starnewsonline.com, February 7, 2015.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Unknown UNINTENTIONAL
Date: November 14, 2014
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On November 14, 2014, Randall Vater, 43, unintentionally shot and killed Nathan Andrew Clark, 13, at the Comfort Suites in Raleigh, North Carolina. Clark was lying in bed in a hotel room where his parents and a friend were staying for a soccer tournament, when a bullet from the adjacent room penetrated the wall, hitting Clark in the head. Vater, who has a lengthy criminal record including felony convictions, and a female friend were checked into the room next door. Vater’s friend had a concealed handgun permit for the Springfield Armory XD 9mm pistol that she had placed on the bedside table. When Vater picked up the pistol he unintentionally fired the gun. Vater pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to at least 11 years and five months in prison.
Source: “Guilty plea in shooting death of teen soccer player in Raleigh hotel room,” News Observer, June 27, 2016.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Eric Sinatra Gilbert CONVICTED
Date: December 4, 2010
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On December 4, 2010, concealed handgun permit holder Eric Sinatra Gilbert, 24, shot and killed Derek A-Shaheed Brathwaite in the parking lot of the Fuzion nightclub. According to news reports, Brathwaite shot Gilbert’s friend Ernest Wright. Brathwaite then aimed his 45 caliber pistol at Gilbert, who shot and killed Brathwaite with a 40 caliber Glock pistol. According to a witness, Gilbert repeatedly kicked Brathwaite in the head, stating, “You got whupped. You had it coming for shooting my little brother in the face.” Wright survived the gunshot wound from the round fired by Brathwaite. In September 2012, Gilbert pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter as part of a plea deal and was sentenced to 16 to 20 months, serving five months with credit for time served prior to sentencing. He was also required to serve 12 months of supervised probation followed by 36 months of unsupervised probation. Gilbert was also required to speak to youth groups about the dangers of guns and alcohol and pay for Brathwaite’s funeral expenses of $7,930. Remarking on the case, and a similar one that, as a press report noted “mirrored Gilbert’s case in its mix of guns, alcohol, and testosterone,” Judge Wayland Sermons stated, “Something must be done by our community leaders to get these guns off the street and out of the hands of our young.”
Source: “Nightclub shooter pleads to lesser charge,” The Daily Reflector, September 18, 2012.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Gale Lynn Frye INCOMPETENT TO STAND TRIAL
Date: February 12, 2010
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On February 12, 2010, concealed handgun permit holder Gale Lynn Frye, 67, called 911 and asked for help for his wife. When police arrived they found Bertha Frye, 76, in the bedroom dead from a single gunshot wound to the head from a 22 caliber rifle. Frye was arrested and charged with killing his wife. In November 2011, a Superior Court judge ruled that Frye, with an IQ of 73 and dementia, was incompetent to stand trial. The judge ordered Frye “to be remanded to appropriate treatment and care and—if found competent at a later date—to be…tried for the murder.” In a separate order, the judge directed the sheriff to seize and hold all of Frye’s firearms and revoke his concealed handgun permit. During the hearing, a forensic psychologist who spoke as an expert witness for the defense stated that Frye did not want to be found incompetent, because he was concerned about losing his right to bear arms, stating, “When talking to me, he was actually concerned with the right to keep his guns and keep his home to the exclusion of his case.”
Source: “Man Found Incompetent in Wife’s Death,” The Pilot, November 6, 2011; “Husband Held in Murder,” The Pilot, February 14, 2010.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Lionel Loya CONVICTED
Date: December 5, 2009
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On December 5, 2009, friends Lionel Loya and Jonathan Clinton Rodriguez got into an argument while watching a broadcast of the Texas-Nebraska college football game. Loya was disappointed that his favorite team, the Florida Gators, had lost earlier in the day to the Alabama Crimson Tide—dropping the Gators out of contention for the BCS national championship game. A scuffle broke out between the two after the Texas Longhorns secured a spot in the BCS championship game at the Rose Bowl by beating the Nebraska Cornhuskers with a last-minute field goal. During the roughhousing, Loya produced a handgun, which discharged, killing Rodriguez. Loya had a concealed handgun permit. Both men were Marine corporals. Loya was turned over to military authorities and charged with involuntary manslaughter. Loya pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 13 to 16 months in prison.
Source: “Shooter gets 13 months for friend’s death,” New Bern Sun-Journal, January 26, 2010; “Texas-Neb. game sparks shooting,” Omaha World-Herald, December 8, 2009.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: William Maxwell SUICIDE
Date: November 2, 2009
People Killed: 4 (including shooter)
Circumstances: On November 2, 2009, William Maxwell shot and killed his wife Kathryn and their teenage children Conner and Cameron before killing himself. Neighbors could not say what drove a local businessman and basketball coach at the religious school where his teenagers attended classes to murder his family. Friends described the Maxwells as active churchgoers and good neighbors. Earlier on the day of the shooting, friends and relatives had gathered at the family’s home to “see if they could lift the normally happy dad from his funk.” Maxwell obtained a concealed handgun permit in January 2008.
Source: “Friends tried to help NC man who killed family,” The Associated Press, November 5, 2009; “Police: NC father killed wife, 2 children, self,” The Associated Press, November 3, 2009.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: William Littleton CONVICTED
Date: December 15, 2008
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On December 15, 2008, William Littleton allegedly killed his neighbor, 72-year-old Luther Kaemming, shooting him three times in the chest with a rifle. Kaemming was a prosecuting witness in a court case against Littleton on charges that Littleton had obstructed drainage ditches in front of his property causing water to back up into neighbors’ yards. Littleton, who was issued a concealed handgun permit in 1998, was charged with murder.
UPDATE: In October 2010, William Littleton was found guilty of first degree murder. According to the Chief District Attorney, the way Littleton treated Kaemming’s body after the murder proved he acted with malice: “He went over there and grabbed his body, grabbed the victim’s body Mr. Kaemming’s body, threw it in the mud….And then said, ‘Now ‘eff’ with me you ‘S-O-B’.’” Littleton faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Source: “Deadly drainage ditch trial: GUILTY,” WCTI12.com, October, 2010; “Sheriff’s Dept.: Man accused of murder had previously threatened neighbor,” The Daily News (Jacksonville, NC), December 16, 2008; “Mistrial preceded neighbors fatal dispute,” The Daily News (Jacksonville, NC), January 14, 2009.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Bobby Ray Bordeaux Jr. CONVICTED
Date: August 31, 2008
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On August 31, 2008, Bobby Ray Bordeaux Jr. shot and killed Clifton Jackson and wounded John Warlick with a .22 pistol during an altercation at the Hogs Pen Pub. Bordeaux was at the bar to celebrate the birthdays of his younger brothers. As the brothers were leaving the bar, Eddie Bordeaux exchanged words with Jackson and “took a swing” at him. Jackson then knocked Eddie Bordeaux to the ground. Bobby Ray Bordeaux Jr. then shot Jackson in the back of the head. Because of his alcohol use, Bobby Ray Bordeaux Jr. said he could only remember pieces of that day and night. He said he remembered driving his brother’s dirt bike to the bar and collecting change for a game of pool, but the next thing he remembered was being handcuffed, presented before the magistrate, and charges being read against him. Bordeaux, who had a concealed handgun permit, was found guilty in September 2009 of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury in the shooting of Warlick. The trial on the first-degree murder charge ended with a deadlocked jury. A retrial on the murder charge in December 2009 ended with a conviction for first degree murder, and Bordeaux was sentenced to life in prison.
Source: “Jury convicts Bordeaux of first-degree murder,” Rocky Mount Telegram, December 10, 2009; “Bordeaux jury knotted; retrial Dec. 7,” The Daily Southerner, September 25, 2009; “Defendant doesn’t remember shooting,” The Daily Southerner, September 23, 2009.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: John K. Gallaher III CONVICTED
Date: July 15, 2008
People Killed: 2
Circumstances: At approximately midnight on July 15, 2008, John K. Gallaher III called 911 to report that he had shot and killed his friends Lori Fioravanti and Sean Gallagher. Although the motive for the shooting was unknown, friends speculated that heavy drinking and a dispute over a boating mishap may have led to the shootings. Gallaher, who had a concealed handgun permit, was charged with murder.
UPDATE: On October 25, 2010, Gallaher pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, and was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors had planned to pursue the death penalty against Gallaher, but the victims’ families urged prosecutors to accept a plea agreement as they did not want to endure a trial.
Source: “Gallaher pleads guilty,” Winston-Salem Journal, October 26, 2010; “How Does a Family Beset by Tragedy Face Yet Another?,” Winston-Salem Journal, August 3, 2008; “Reason for shooting deaths still unclear,” Winston-Salem Journal, July 17, 2008.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Jamez Mellion CONVICTED
Date: August 21, 2007
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On August 21, 2007, concealed handgun permit holder Jamez Mellion, 24, shot and killed Major Paul Burton Miner III, a 12-year military veteran who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to news reports, Mellion entered the home he and his wife once shared early in the morning and found Miner and Mellion’s estranged wife, Adrianna Mellion (who lived in the home with her five-year-old son) in bed together. Mellion shot Miner 10 times with two handguns in the head, stomach, and pelvis, killing him. Mellion turned himself into police an hour after the shooting and was charged with first-degree murder. In May 2010 he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and faces up to 15 years and nine months in prison.
Source: “More Concealed Guns and Some Are in the Wrong Hands,” New York Times, December 26, 2011; “Man pleads guilty to killing romantic rival,” wral.com, May 6, 2010, “No answers yet why Army officer from Vero Beach killed in home of woman,” tcpalm.com, September 1, 2007.