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N.C. authorities plan to charge three Horry County in fatal shooting of store clerk

Three Horry County men suspected in several local robberies will be charged by N.C. officials with murder in the shooting of a convenience store employee, according to authorities.

Horry County police arrested the men on Monday and had linked them to four separate armed robberies in the county, said Lt. Raul Denis.

The men, Franklin Crawford, 24; Xzavia Parker, 19, Joshua Witherspoon, 20, and Elias Collins, 22, all of Loris, are in custody on armed robbery charges in Horry County. Collins, 22, who was shot, remains at the hospital under police custody, while the other men are being held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

North Carolina authorities plan to charge Parker, Collins and Witherspoon with first-degree felony murder in the shooting death of Abdo Ali Saleh Qoria, 42, of Tabor City, N.C., Tabor City Police Chief Donald Dowless said.

“This is just the beginning,” Dowless said of the warrants against the men. “I’m sure there are going to be more charges filed.”

Horry County police consider the men suspects in robberies that occurred during the previous month at a Kangaroo convenience store located on S.C. 90, the Tobacco Outlet located on S.C. 544, Tokyo Express in Loris and Gerald’s Convenience store located on U.S. 701 North, Denis said.

Horry County police arrested the men Monday after Collins went to Loris Community Hospital the previous night with a gunshot wound, according to authorities. When officers questioned Collins about his injury, Denis said they became suspicious of his story.

Horry County officers were aware that North Carolina authorities were investigating a fatal robbery involving Qoria, the owner of R&R Quick Stop, police said. Qoria exchanged gunfire with a robber before he was fatally shot in the chest.

Police checked local hospitals and learned Collins was being treated in Loris, Dowless said.

“We started putting two and two together and with the help of Horry County, SBI and Loris police, we were able to put this thing to rest quickly, Dowless said.

According to an incident report, Tabor City police found two guns on the floor next to Qoria and cash from the store’s register was scattered on the floor.

Myrtle Beach police Capt. David Knipes said the men are not connected to any robberies in the city limits. But officials in Georgetown are reviewing cases to see if the men are connected to their cases.

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