A Roanoke Rapids man with a history of violence recently released from prison has been shot while robbing a local business and is in critical condition.
Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp said deputies responded to a business in the Roanoke Rapids area around 11:40 p.m. Friday in reference to a shooting. Upon arrival, Tripp said, deputies found Cul Priest Jones, 40, lying in the parking lot suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
Tripp said the business owner, who also resides at the business, was awakened during the night and when he went to investigate, found the suspect behind the cash register with a handgun. The business owner, Tripp said, was assaulted during the encounter and fired “several” shots at the suspect with a handgun.
Investigation revealed the suspect had attempted to pry open two safes as well as the register.
Jones was taken to Halifax Regional and airlifted to a second medical facility. He is listed in critical condition, Tripp said.
The sheriff said at this point in the investigation there are no plans to charge the business owner in connection with the shooting.
Warrants have been issued for Jones on charges of first-degree burglary, felony larceny, two counts of safe cracking, possession of a firearm by a felon, first-degree trespassing and assault. Tripp said when Jones is healthy enough to be served with the warrants, he will be arrested.
According to Department of Public Safety records, Jones was released from prison Dec. 4. He was convicted in the 1991 shooting of a Warren County deputy, and escaped from prison Aug. 1, 1995, and was eventually returned to custody.
The Hampton Roads Daily Press indicated Jones had committed several break-ins, carjackings and burglaries after his escape. Records indicate he was convicted of nine larcenies committed on Aug. 1 and 2 in 1995.
Jones was sentenced to 50 years, 2 months and 20 days on May 23, 1991, for the attempted killing of the deputy.