Deadly shooting of Charlotte inn worker remains unsolved after 16 years

CHARLOTTE — More than 16 years ago, a man was shot and killed while working at the front desk of a north Charlotte inn. All these years later, the crime remains unsolved.

Every day, dozens of travelers stop along the Sugar Creek Road-Interstate 85 corridor looking for a safe and comfortable place to spend the night.

In 2008, Larry Allen Broughton was an employee at one of the inns there.

“I never really worried about him going to work or anything,” said his daughter, Tonya Baldock. “I never thought this would happen until it did.”

Baldock’s 63-year-old father worked the front desk at the Country Hearth Inn.

“My dad didn’t want to retire yet because he was a busy person, he always wanted to stay busy,” she said.


The shooting

Police said on May 12, 2008, two men walked into the lobby of the Country Hearth Inn pretending to be interested in a room. Broughton was there along with the owner, Majula Patel.

One of the men pulled a gun. The surveillance video shows what happened next.

“Miss Patel reached under the counter for a firearm that she had gotten after a prior robbery,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Matt Hefner.

Hefner is with CMPD’s Cold Case Unit.

“When she reached for that firearm, the suspect started shooting,” Hefner said. “He shot Larry in the chest and then shot Miss Patel.”

“My mom found out through the news that there had been a shooting there,” Tonya Baldock said.

The family rushed to the motel, calling Broughton along the way but getting no answer. At the scene, they spoke with police.


“I need to know if he’s OK and what’s going on,” Baldock said. “He said ‘no, he was no longer there and that the lady who was working with him was shot and had been paralyzed.’”

Broughton, a husband, father, and grandfather, died at the scene. And for 16 years, his case has been unsolved.

“When Miss Patel attempted to defend her and Larry, that’s when it turned bad. And I don’t blame Miss Patel in any way,” Hefner said. “I never blame a victim for trying to defend themselves.”

‘Hopefully he’ll get justice for what he did’

Even though police have video of the crime, solving it has been tough because the video quality was poor, even for 2008 standards.

One theory police have operated under is that the people responsible were involved in a series of motel robberies at the time.

“If this was 2024, even on the basic system, it would have been much better footage than we have today,” Hefner said.

The video has been turned over to the State and Federal Bureau of Investigations. Now, for the first time, we have enhanced photos.

“Hopefully these improved photos, these enhancements can be shown to the public and some will recognize at least one of the suspects,” Hefner said.

“I was very mad at God for taking him away from me so young and not letting him be able to be with my children and with me,” Baldock said. “I’d only been married for 10 years when he passed.”

Baldock said her mother, Broughton’s wife, is in poor health. It would mean the world to her if police could make an arrest.

“Before my mom passes away, she has peace and we can go to court to find out what’s was the reason all this went down,” Baldock said. “Why did he have to do this? Why did he have to hurt somebody? And hopefully, he’ll get justice for what he did.”

(WATCH BELOW: CMPD, victim’s family asks suspect to come forward for CMS volunteer’s killing)

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