Teen charged with second-degree murder in deadly shooting of employee at SE Wichita AutoZone
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - UPDATE: Friday, July 31, 2020: The 18-year-old man arrested earlier this week in the deadly shooting of 40-year-old Nick Blue Sunday night at a southeast Wichita AutoZone is charged with second-degree murder.
The charge against Lamonte Lucas was handed down Friday afternoon by a Sedgwick County District Court judge. Bond for Lucas is set at $250,000.
Lucas’ first court appearance left many questioning why he wasn’t charged with first-degree murder. Police said Lucas was attempting to rob the AutoZone store on South Oliver when he fatally shot Blue.
Legal expert Charley O’Hara said an attempted robbery is a felony crime and if someone dies, that’s usually a first-degree murder charge.
“It would be a different crime. It would be felony murder, so even if you didn’t have the intent to kill if you’re committing an inherently dangerous felony where somebody could die for instance, and you’re doing that and somebody dies, then you’re guilty of first-degree murder. “...Evidently here, they don’t have enough evidence, or don’t think they have enough evidence to prove that there was an inherently dangerous crime going on, which robbery was.”
Blue’s former boss and close friend, Cortez Nelson, said Lucas needs to pay for the reckless crime that killed an innocent man but also said Blue would want him to forgive Lucas for what happened.
“I don’t think he went in there to kill my friend, so I think second-degree murder would stand, and I think he would be convicted and charged of it,” Nelson said.
Nelson said Blue “meant the world” to him and was “one of the best employees (he) ever had.”
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 29, 2020: The Wichita Police Department made an arrest Tuesday night in the shooting death of an AutoZone employee Nicholas Blue.
According to the booking sheets provided by the Sedgwick County jail, 18-year-old Lamontae Lucas was arrested and booked into jail for first-degree intentional murder.
Officers were called to the AutoZone at 910 S. Oliver on Sunday around 9 p.m. They arrived and located Blue who had been shot and killed.
“The investigation has revealed that Lucas entered the store, we believe with the intention of robbing the establishment and during that time, shot the victim one time and then fled from the location,” said Capt. Jason Stephens.
Police released a photograph of the suspect. Capt. Stephens said the community’s response to the photo, tips and police work helped lead to the arrest. Blue and Lucas had no connection to one another, according to Stephens.
Officer Charley Davidson, the public information officer for the police department, said this case is not believed to be connected to three armed robberies that happened in the same area Sunday night.
UPDATE: Monday, July 27, 2020: Wichita Police are asking for your help as they investigate a fatal shooting at an AutoZone Auto Parts store late Sunday.
Police were called to the business in the 900 block of S. Oliver at around 9:00 p.m. When they got there, they found a 40-year-old employee who had been shot. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say their investigation revealed that an unknown man came into the business, pulled out a handgun and the victim was shot. The shooter then left the business. There were two other employees in other parts of the business at the time. The store was open, but no customers were in the building at the time.
Investigators are still working to determine what led up to the shooting.
Family members have identified the victim as Nick Blue, of Wichita. Monday night, friends and family gathered for a candlelight vigil at the AutoZone where Blue worked. Family and friends want Wichita to remember Blue for his dedication to those he loved, as well as for his smile and his laugh.
Blue’s death marks the 28th criminal homicide in Wichita this year. Data from Wichita police shows homicides are up 55 percent from last year and shootings are up 63 percent. So far in 2020, Wichita police have reported 113 shootings, up 69 from this point last year.
Anyone with information into Nick Blue’s death is asked to contact WPD at (316) 268-4407. You can also give anonymous tips to CrimeStoppers of Sedgwick County at (316) 267-2111.
One man is dead after a shooting at an AutoZone Auto Parts store in southeast Wichita near Lincoln and Oliver. Emergency crews were called to the scene shortly after 9:00 p.m. Sunday.
Captain Kevin Kochenderfer with the Wichita Police Department says three employees were in the business at the time. One of them found a co-worker with a gunshot wound and called police.
The employee was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police tell us one of the employees was in the restroom at the time, the other was in the back getting a part when the shooting happened.
Police are not sure if the shooting was related to a robbery, or what the motive could be. They’ve been interviewing eyewitnesses and looking over surveillance video from the area.
No one has been arrested.
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