Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

At approximately 1:40 a.m. Sunday, three men attempted to rob a Pizza Hut in Charlotte, NC, prompting an employee of the popular pizza chain to draw his own weapon in self-defense. The employee shot one of the suspects and the other two fled the scene.

The victim, 28-year-old Michael Renard Grace, was pronounced dead on scene by paramedics. Police detectives recovered the employee’s handgun that was used in the altercation. The two other suspects fled on foot and have yet to be identified or arrested.

Although Pizza Hut has a no gun policy, the implementation of the policy varies by location. Pizza Hut released the following statement in regards to the self defense shooting:

The local Pizza Hut franchise is fully cooperating with the Charlotte Police Department as they continue their investigation, but want to stress that the security of its staff is of utmost concern. They are providing support to the team members involved to ensure their health and well-being following this incident. The employee involved in the shooting has been placed on a leave of absence following further review.

The incident failed to surprise residents in the area, where 10 robberies have occurred in a one block radius of the establishment in October alone.

“You’ve got drug dealers, drug users, everyone wants that first fix and they’re willing to do anything for it,” resident Shamika Johnson said. “It’s very unsafe around here and I definitely think businesses around here need to carry handguns for their safety and other people’s safety.”

“I got shot about two years ago at the same Pizza Hut,” resident Shanequia Jant said. “There was chaos in the parking lot, some shots fired, I was running trying to get my little sister and I was shot in the leg.”

The franchise was closed at the time of the attempted armed robbery and no employees were hurt in the shooting.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are asking anyone with information to call 704-432-TIPS or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.