JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. (WNCN) - The family of the man shot and killed while protecting his mother is calling him a hero.
Joseph Bowling, 23, was killed last week at the Watchman near Benson. His family told CBS 17 he loved the outdoors, fishing and spending time with his nieces and nephews.
“He touched many hearts in his lifetime. He was just that good of a person,” said his sister-in-law Emmily Mangum.
Mangum said Bowling’s mom worked the night shift at the Scotchman near Benson. He’d often go sit with her during her shift.
“He was a big mama’s boy. He loved his mama.”
That’s what he was doing a week ago.
It was the day after his 23rd birthday.
Bowling was spending time with his mom at the gas station when a group walked in, demanding money.
“From what I’m told, he told them to have what you want we don’t want no trouble,” said Mangum.
She said Bowling went behind the counter to stand in front of his mom.
The robbers took money and both their phones, said Mangum.
Police said one of the suspects started firing inside the store, shooting and killing Bowling as he protected his mother.
“I think everybody is in shock really. You never think it’ll be your family until something like that happens,” said Mangum.
Bowling’s gathered for his wake and funeral this week.
His loved ones say many people showed up to remember who they lovingly call “Scrap.”
“He had a huge heart, like he’d give you the shirt off his back. He was an awesome person.”
The gas station paid for his funeral.
The family is raising money for the rest of the expenses. You can donate here.
The sheriff’s office says the suspects might also be connected to other robberies in this area.
The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said on Nov. 20, Manuel Jamie Patterson 19, was arrested in Fayetteville for the robbery of the Safeway and Reedy Creek Gas and Grocery convenient store located at 9891 NC Hwy 210 Four Oaks.
While in the Johnston County Jail, deputies say Patterson was charged for the Nov. 14 homicide and robbery of the Scotchman convenience store.Patterson is now charged with Murder, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon (2 counts), Felony Conspiracy (2 counts). Patterson is being held in the Johnston County Jail under no bond.
Bobby Gene McLean Jr, 19, surrendered himself at the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 21.
McLean was charged in connection with the Scotchman Murder/ Robbery. Mclean was charged with Murder, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, Felony Conspiracy and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. McLean is being held in the Johnston County Jail under no bond.
Johnston County Sheriff’s Office investigators are searching for John Wesley Pettiway III, 21 for the Scotchman Murder / Robbery. Investigators have warrants on file for Pettiway for Murder, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon and Felony Conspiracy.
Anyone with information as to the location of Pettiway is asked to contact the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office at 919-989-5000.