WINSTON-SALEM --Winston-Salem police and the State Bureau of Investigation were on the scene of a deadly officer involved shooting, Friday afternoon. It happened just before one o'clock, inside Kevin Powell Motorsports on University Parkway.
Police said 29-year-old Dallas Conner attempted to rob the store armed with a shot gun. "There were patrons in it. It was open for business. An individual walked in, in the effort to commit an armed robbery. It was obvious to everyone in the store that he was robbing the place, he did display a lethal long weapon," said Winston-Salem Police Chief Scott Cunningham.
Employees working at Discount Tire across the street witnessed the results. "I didn't even hear gunshots, I just saw one of the guys running out and one of the guys just ran in here to us and was telling us that somebody had a shot gun and had fired a round," said store manager Matt Gray. He continued, "He was very scared. He could barely get a word out; I thought he was choking."
Police said 24-year veteran of the Winston-Salem Police Department, Detective Michael Poe, happened to be inside the store as a witness and was dressed in plain clothes. "People in the store pointed the guy out to him," said Cunningham.
Cunningham said there was a short confrontation between Conner and Poe and then Poe shot the suspect, killing him. No one else was injured.
"It was hysteria for a little bit. All the customers in here and over there, everybody just kinda pausing, seeing what was going on," said Gray.
Cunningham explained it was an incident that could have been avoided, and tragically has left Conner dead.
"This guy probably didn't intend for his day to end like this, but it did. He may not have intended to kill anyone, but when you bring a lethal weapon into a business and you're robbing it, anything can go wrong," said Cunningham.
Winston-Salem Police are investigating the attempted armed robbery and the assault on the officer. S.B.I., at the police department's request, is investigating the officer's use of deadly force. The S.B.I.'s investigation is typical for officer involved shootings and should take several weeks before a final report is handed over to the District Attorney's office for an official ruling of the legality of the officer's actions.
Detective Poe has been placed on Administrative Leave while the investigation is underway. This action is customary in all officer-involved shootings.