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Chief: Suspects in Pizza Hut robbery ran at cops, did not shoot

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police say the suspects involved in Friday night’s shooting outside a restaurant ran at officers but did not fire shots.

Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said this afternoon information WPD gathered through investigations of recent restaurant robberies, including through collaboration with Leland Police, led officers to keep an eye on the Pizza Hut on S. 17th. St. Friday night.

“As the officers arrived they observed what they believed to be an armed robbery in progress,” Evangelous read from a prepared statement. “Officers saw guns being used during the robbery. When the suspects left the building officers challenged the suspects and gave them several commands to surrender. The suspects refused to comply with the officers commands and ran towards our officers. The suspects were then fired upon by the officers.”

Two of the men, Tevin Robinson and Ronald Roland, died in the shooting. A third, Jalani Smith was injured and later charged in connection to the robbery. Evangelous said the investigation in the days since proved the suspects did not fire at officers, but investigators did take two weapons from the suspects after the incident.

Evangelous says six officers are on administrative leave as WPD conducts and internal review of the incident and while SBI investigates as well. He said the names of the officers will be released when the review is done.

“No one wins when lives are lost,” Evangelous said. “This recent incident affects everyone and I am asking for the community‚Äôs support as we move through this.”


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