Fatal fire and shooting in N.C. linked to Hills Food Store homicide

Police shot and killed the suspect in a Loris homicide Tuesday, when the man exchanged gunshots with officers after another slaying and a fire in North Carolina, according to authorities.

North Carolina District Attorney Jon David told The Associated Press that 22-year-old Dion Brown fired several shots at Columbus County deputies around 2 a.m. Tuesday, hitting one officer in his bullet-resistant vest. Officers returned fire and killed Brown.

Police had been searching for Brown late Monday after a shooting Sunday at a Loris store. Brown is accused of fatally shooting Malcolm Ray Norris Jr., 49, of Tabor City, N.C. around 6:30 a.m. Sunday at Hills Food Store.

Norris, who was called Mack, was a manager of the grocery store and known in the Loris community as a friendly, helpful man to all, according to some who knew him.

Phillip Sellers runs a bread delivery route that includes the Hills Food Store. He said he only knew Mack through the bread deliveries and didn’t know much about his personal life.

“He was a good man,” Sellers said. “Just a good guy.”

Horry County police issued warrants Tuesday charging Brown with murder, armed robbery, second-degree burglary and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

According to the warrants, Brown had worked at Hills Food Store, was terminated and was rejected when he recently inquired about getting his job back. The reason for his firing was not disclosed.

Police said Brown fired several rounds inside the building, demanded money and fled the store Sunday with an undisclosed amount of cash.

According to an incident report released Tuesday, police responded about 6:20 a.m. Sunday to the grocery store at 4227 Broad Street and found multiple victims, including Mack, who had a head wound.

Horry County and Loris police found two employees who had locked themselves in a closet, and another kneeling over Mack.

Hills Food Store employees in Loris deferred comment to a public relations manager with the company.

Details about the fatal fire in Tabor City, N.C. had not been released late Tuesday, but authorities in North Carolina said Brown was seen running from a burning home, according to an Associated Press report.

Two deputies who shot at Brown are on paid administrative leave while the shooting is reviewed by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Associated Press reports.