TABOR CITY, NC (WECT) – Officials have identified the man who was shot and killed in Tabor City early Tuesday morning as Dion Julius Brown, 22, of Miller Road in Tabor City.
According to District Attorney Jon David, Brown was shot and killed by deputies with the Columbus County Sheriff's Office while he was actively being sought for a crime spree that happened in SC and NC.
David explained during a news conference Tuesday the shooting incident stemmed from a fatal armed robbery that happened in Loris, SC.
Hills Food Store Manager Malcolm "Mack" Ray Norris Jr. of Tabor City was shot and killed during an armed robbery at the store Sunday, April 27.
An investigation led authorities to believe Brown was responsible for the robbery and murder of Norris.
Brown, who had previously worked at the Hills Food Store, was identified by a store security officer, according to a search warrant filed in the Columbus County Clerk of Court's Office.
Officials had reason to believe Brown was in Tabor City so they took out arrest warrants Monday and contacted law enforcement in Columbus County for help.
David said the multiple agencies began working in team-like fashion around 5 p.m. Monday and actively searched for Brown.
According to David, law enforcement received information around 2 a.m. that Brown was most likely off Second Street. When officers arrived, they saw a home at 311 W. Second St. on fire and a dead body inside.
Assistant Columbus County Coroner William Hannah said an autopsy conducted Wednesday at the State Medical Examiner's Office identified the deceased as Eugene T. McQueen, 55, who lived in the home where he was found.
Hannah said it would likely take weeks to determine the cause of death.
After arriving at the burning home, authorities say they spotted a man who looked like Brown running away.
David said officers followed Brown towards Fourth Street where they confronted him. According to the District Attorney Brown started firing several shots at the deputies, hitting one, and was ultimately shot and killed by deputies.
David said the deputy hit by the bullet was wearing a bullet proof vest, which likely saved his life. The deputy is expected to be okay.
Assistant Columbus County Coroner William Hannah said he was unable to identify the man who died in the house fire due to the condition of the body. It appeared the man was sitting in a chair that had turned over onto the floor.
Both bodies will undergo autopsies.
"This is a very complex case," said David. "There's a lot we still don't know and what we do know is limited in what we can tell you."
Check back for updates in this case as they become available.