As reported by the Charlotte Observer:
ANOTHER WORKER WOUNDED IN ARM
Employee kills would-be robber in McDonald's
Slain man was in '95 Observer story about troubled neighborhoods
LIZ CHANDLER, ERIC FRAZIER, MELISSA MANWARE
An armed McDonald's employee shot and killed a would-be robber Thursday in a gunbattle inside the west Charlotte restaurant, police and witnesses said.
It's unclear how many customers were inside during the shootout shortly before 10 p.m. A second employee, a 42-year-old woman, was hit in the crossfire and treated for a gunshot wound to the arm.
Killed in the shooting was Donte Antonio McFadden, 20, who police say attempted to rob the store with a handgun.
McFadden was featured in a 1995 Observer story about his youth baseball team, organized to keep kids out of trouble in one of Charlotte's most violent neighborhoods.
Police would not name the 25-year-old shooter Friday because he has not been charged. Detectives are investigating and will ask prosecutors to decide whether charges are appropriate.
Records show the employee has a history of drug-related arrests and was convicted in 2001 of felony cocaine possession. It's against N.C. law for a felon to possess a gun.
At least three people called 911 in the moments after the gunfire.
"There's been a shooting inside the McDonald's. ... It's still going on right now," one caller said. "People are still climbing out the window, running in and outside of the store."
McFadden's cousin, Crystal Steele, was working at McDonald's during the shooting and told the Observer that McFadden used her gun. She said she kept the gun in her car for protection and didn't know how McFadden got it.
Friday, Steele walked into a living room full of McFadden's grieving family and friends and sobbed: "It was my fault. It was my fault. You all feel what you feel -- and blame me."
McFadden graduated last spring from Hopewell High School and planned to attend college. Then, in November, he shot and killed his stepfather in a domestic dispute.
His mother, Hattie McFadden, said her son was protecting her. Authorities hadn't decided whether to press charges.
Gordon Thorton, owner of the McDonald's on Freedom Drive near Alleghany Street, refused to discuss the shooting but said in a written statement: "I take matters concerning the safety and security of my customers and employees very seriously. This was a truly unfortunate incident that occurred at my restaurant yesterday evening."
Records show an attempted robbery at the restaurant last month.
Thorton wouldn't say whether his employees are allowed to carry guns at work, or whether he conducts criminal background checks during hiring.
Witnesses told police McFadden entered the restaurant wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses and walked to the counter where his cousin, Steele, was working.
"I looked at him and I shook my head, no," Steele said.
McFadden asked her: "Cuz, are you ready?" she recalled.
McFadden then took out the gun and tapped it on the counter, Steele said.
A McDonald's employee pulled out a gun and attempted to intervene, police said, and both men fired numerous times.
McFadden, who worked as a custodian, was pronounced dead at Carolinas Medical Center.
On Friday, a large extended family gathered at McFadden's home in northern Charlotte. They talked about their efforts in 1995 to inspire McFadden and other boys in the Lakewood neighborhood by starting a baseball team.
Residents rallied around the Lakewood Panthers -- 15 boys ages 8 to 12 -- staging games and raising money for uniforms. The city took notice when the Panthers were in newspaper stories about neighborhood conditions.
Officials fixed the ballfield, went after the slumlords and cracked down on crime.
But efforts were short-lived, residents said a decade later when the Observer went back to find out what had happened to the boys on the Lakewood team.
In 2004, the Observer reported that at least nine of the 15 players had dropped out of Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. Eight had criminal records. One was in prison for robbery.
Donte McFadden, though, offered promise.
"Upbeat and gregarious, he's working on senior exit project," the Observer noted. "Determined to graduate from Hopewell High ... college depends on financial aid."
McFadden's father, Tony Hunter, planned to take his son fishing at Lake Norman today.
Instead, he and other family members are gathering money to pay for McFadden's funeral.
The article can be found at; http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/16558610.htm
Lessons to be learned: Do not share with people be they your friends or even relatives (!) where and how you store your firearms. As well store your firearm in a proper secured location, and that does not include your glove compartment even if it is normally locked...because your keys are not exactly kept under lock & key nor is it unpossible to break open a glovebox with nothign more than a screwdriver. Another lesson is if you are a felon then you cannot posses never mind handle or carry a firearm, period. That rule applies for life. Sorry. This guy did good but he's going to go to prison as a result. This is a sad case and likely the wounded employee will sue the guns owner in civil court for damages, and be rightful to do so as well as win. As well the restaurant owner might find himself being sued by his customers for being endangered by a felon employee who had a firearm. This situation is fucked up all the way around even as in the end the felon was the hero for everyone.