CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Police released surveillance footage Thursday of a suspect who they said shot and killed a business manager during an attempted robbery late Tuesday night in east Charlotte.
Officers said the shooting happened just after 11 p.m. inside the Sharon Amity Business Park on Amity Court, near North Sharon Amity Road. Officials with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department told Channel 9 that the suspect may have entered the business as early as 10:30 p.m.
Detectives said a man was trying to rob the business when he confronted Preston Scott Coffey, 44, in his office and shot him.
(Preston Scott Coffey)
“It doesn’t appear that they knew each other,” CMPD Capt. Chris Dozier said. “It just looks like a robbery gone bad.”
A woman who witnessed the shooting called 911, and police said the suspect ran off before they arrived.
Coffey died at the scene.
Coffey's ex-wife said they communicated with each other daily about their three children.
Gina Coffey said she is angry about the homicide, but she forgives the person for killing him.
She sympathizes with the man caught on camera.
"I feel for the guy who shot him,” she said. “The way he has to feel now."
She said he appeared to be worried and running scared.
“I hope he can find peace in his heart for what he did because we will never have peace," Coffey said.
They have three children: a 15-year-old boy and 10-year-old twins.
She said her ex-husband was a wonderful father who cared very much for his children, and wants the shooter to turn himself in, mostly for her children.
“He was going to take my daughter to Sweet Frog the day that, the day after he died," she said.
She said she forgives the shooter, but she wants to know more about why he fired the gun.
"I want to know what was going on his mind when he took the father of my children -- just took him like it didn't even matter," Gina Coffey said.
The family will hold a memorial service for him next weekend.
Neighbors were shocked and told Channel 9 the area is quiet and they rarely have a need to call the police.
"Not in my wildest imagination would I have thought something would have happened here at this office park," neighbor Richie Melchor said.
Some neighbors said they had seen Coffey around the area, but didn't know him well.
"We've seen them, but didn't know them personally or anything like that," neighbor Pamela Greene said.
Officials have not confirmed what kind of business Coffey managed, but Channel 9 found records for a place named Carroll Small Repairs.
“Right now, I can't say, that's a part of the investigation, so I can't say what the nature of the business was," Dozier said.
Investigators said the business park has surveillance cameras, and detectives looked through the footage to see if the killer was caught on video.
The suspect is described as a black male in his mid-20s, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a medium build.
The suspect has short hair and was last seen wearing a dark gray crew-neck shirt, jeans and tennis shoes.
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