DA will decide store owner’s fate

Published 9:04 am Monday, May 28, 2012

GATESVILLE – Rumors of the arrest of the store owner who shot and killed two alleged robbers are unfounded, according to Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb.

Meanwhile, Webb remains convinced that a third suspect was involved in the Tuesday evening crime that left two brothers from the Winfall community of Perquimans County dead.

“I received a phone call this morning (Friday) asking about the arrest on manslaughter charges of Mr. (Dwayne) Ammann (the owner of Joppa Store),” said Webb. “There are rumors widely circulating that he has been arrested and there’s no truth to those rumors.”

As he stated earlier this week, Webb said once all the evidence is compiled from the crime scene, including that of the North Carolina SBI, along with the final autopsy report from the Medical Examiner’s office, that material will be placed in the hands of District Attorney Frank Parrish.

“Based on that evidence and the autopsy reports, our local District Attorney will make the determination if any type of charges should be filed against Mr. Ammann,” Webb said. “That’s not my call to make.”

As far as the possibility of a third person involved in the crime, Webb said he felt positive that is the case.

“I strongly believe that someone dropped off the two suspects that entered the store and was waiting for them to complete the robbery and drive them away,” Webb said. “There’s no way those two suspects walked from Winfall to that part of the county to commit the crime. If they acted on their own and were killed in the process, then where’s their get-away car? We looked; we didn’t locate any strange vehicles at or near the store. I feel the driver of that vehicle saw or heard the gunshots and high tailed it out of there.”

Webb said anyone in the general area of Joppa Store at around 6 p.m. Tuesday evening and noticed an “out of place” vehicle can call his office at 252-357-0210 to share that information or contact the Sheriff’s Office in your county of residence.

The story first broke locally on www.r-cnews.com upon learning of a possible armed robbery in progress at Joppa Store, located off Acorn Hill Road in the southeastern corner of Gates County.

Upon an investigation conducted by Webb’s office along with the SBI, it was learned that Ammann shot and killed two Perquimans County brothers during an alleged armed robbery.

On Wednesday, Webb confirmed the identities of the two suspects, reporting they were 20-year-old Eddie Felton and his 17-year-old brother, Quentin, both of the Winfall community.

Webb said the two suspects, both black males, entered Joppa Store….“with their faces covered by bandanas and pointed a gun in the face of the store owner and told him they would kill him if he didn’t hand over the money in the cash register.”

The Sheriff said the two suspects then began to beat the store owner, so much to the point where Webb stated that the victim was “all black and blue from bruising on his body.”

“They beat him down to the floor, kicking and stomping him in the back of the head and in his ribs,” Webb said. “It was at that point where the store owner reached under the counter, while lying on the floor, for a weapon he kept there. He blindly fired a shot at one of the assailants, striking him in the abdomen.”

Despite the bullet wound, Webb said that suspect was able to exit the store.

“At that point the second suspect was at or near the door and pointed his weapon at the store owner,” Webb said. “The store owner then fired three shots at that suspect.”

Webb said by the time the owner exited his store he discovered one of the suspects lying in the parking lot.

“That suspect was deceased,” Webb said.

Meanwhile, the second suspect was nowhere to be found.

“My officers arrived and secured the scene,” Webb said. “At that point we began to track the whereabouts of the second suspect and found him deceased in a wooded area about 150 yards from the store.”

Ammann, age 60, was treated and released from Albemarle Hospital in Elizabeth City later Tuesday night.

At the time of the discovery of the two dead suspects, Webb stated that neither was found with identification. The Felton brothers were identified later Tuesday night by family members who came to the crime scene.

“The Perquimans County Sheriff had received information from family members in that county regarding the fact that they could not get in touch with the two brothers,” Webb said.

Assisting Webb and his officers in the immediate investigation were law enforcement officials from Hertford, Pasquotank, Chowan and Perquimans sheriff’s offices as well as the Edenton Police Department.

“We’ve learned that the MO (Method of Operation) used by the suspects in this robbery is closely matched with those of at least two other recent convenience store robberies – one in Pasquotank County and the other in Edenton,” Webb said. “We’re working with law enforcement in those two jurisdictions and comparing notes to see if those are connected with the Joppa Store case.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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