Grimsley student killed in Greensboro vape shop robbery

Greensboro police said 17-year-old Gabriel Malachi Kalu died after a store employee shot him during the robbery.

Blair Barnes, Megan Allman (WFMY News 2 Digital), Jaelen Gilkey, Grace Holland

11:54 PM EST December 13, 2021

7:43 AM EST December 15, 2021

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Guilford County Schools officials said a 17-year-old boy who was killed during a vape shop robbery was a student at Grimsley High School. 

The robbery happened at Tobacco & Vape on Battleground Avenue shortly before 8 p.m. Monday. 

Greensboro police said a store employee shot 17-year-old Gabriel Malachi Kalu during the robbery. Before that, police said Kalu and two other male suspects entered the store and stole cash at gunpoint. 

911 calls reveal more

The employee called 911 in the minutes after the shooting and calmly recounted the story to an operator.

“They were grabbing the money and some of the merchandise,” the caller said. “There was a gun in the back, so I went ahead and got the gun and came back out. They were still there, so I just fired at them. They ran out. I don’t think any of them got hurt.”

Police said the three suspects ran away from the store. A few hours later, police said Kalu died. 

The employee told 911 Kalu and two others came to the store earlier that evening.

“Three of them came in earlier today, like an hour and 30 minutes ago. They were wearing masks and hoodies, and then they bought some stuff and they walked out,” the caller said.

The employee told the operator that only one person returned with Kalu at the time of the robbery. He said one of them was armed with a pistol.

What charges could suspects face?

It’s unclear if the other two suspects have been found or whether the store clerk faces any charges. 

Attorney Jason Keith said the other suspects could be charged with robbery and even felony murder.

“If during the commission of a felony that has a high likelihood of circumstances where a person can be killed, such as robbing a store, the felony murder rule makes them guilty of first-degree murder and they could be prosecuted,” Keith said.

Could the clerk be charged? 

Keith said a self-defense argument is possible for the clerk who shot Kalu, but prosecutors will likely consider other factors too, like whether the suspects were running away when he shot them.

We’re working to get more information about the robbery and shooting. Police are still investigating.