Slain sweepstakes robber identified: robbery was third criminal incident in three weeks at Players Vape

Published 7:59 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Washington Police Department has identified a robbery suspect who was shot and killed by a store employee during an attempted robbery at a local sweepstakes parlor, Players Vape, early Monday morning. The man has been identified as Grant Waters, 42, of Rocky Mount.

“The guys are still doing some background investigation to figure out why he came to Washington to do what he did,” Washington Police and Fire Services Director Stacy Drakeford said. “We are still trying to determine how he got to Washington, and that is the missing piece of the puzzle. We couldn’t find a bicycle or any vehicles associated with him.”

The shooting on Monday marks the third time local law enforcement have responded to the location in the past two weeks, according to Drakeford. On March 17, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office was called to the site when employees suspected patrons were skimming gaming equipment at the business.

The second call came just a day later on March 18, when Drakeford says two unidentified, black male suspects robbed the business, getting away with an undisclosed amount of cash. While there was no physical altercation during that robbery, store employees told police the suspects were armed. The WPD, having established jurisdiction at the business, was in the process of investigating that robbery when the shooting occurred Monday.

The police chief went on to say that it will be up to the District Attorney to determine whether any charges will be brought against the store employee who shot Waters. The police chief confirmed the employee, whose identity has not yet been released, is licensed to carry a concealed firearm.

Public records with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety show Waters had an extensive criminal record dating back to 1993. Most recently, he had served a sentence of two years and five months at the Nash Correctional Institution for charges of felony breaking and entering and felony larceny after breaking and entering. His parole period from that term ended in September 2018.

Waters also served five years and two months from 1994 to 1999 on charges of larceny, breaking and entering and common law robbery.

While Players Vape is located on U.S. Highway 264 West near the Pitt-Beaufort county line, the property where it sits is within the Washington city limits by way of annexation. Under Washington’s zoning ordinances, “electronic gaming operations” are tightly regulated, and require a special-use permit to operate. Players Vape was operating without any such permit.

“Electronic gaming operations may include, but are not limited to, internet cafes, internet sweepstakes, electronic gaming machines, or cyber-cafes,” according to the ordinance.

According to representatives from the City of Washington Planning Department, the business’s owners were scheduled to appear before the Washington Board of Adjustment in April to challenge the regulations set by the city ordinance.