Though Jones had his own job at the Piggly Wiggly downtown, he often stopped by to help Mary close the store for the night, according to a friend.
It was there, helping his wife, with their two teenage children, a boy and a girl, Sunday evening, that Jones died after 16-year-old Montoreous Kevonn Heard shot him and his wife with a handgun, according to police.
Randolph County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Heard, Sunday evening outside of Wedowee where the teenager is alleged to have shot and killed his father, Alton Heard, in a separate incident. Heard faces capital murder charges in that shooting and Roanoke police Tuesday were pursuing capital murder and attempted murder charges against the suspect for the Roanoke shootings as well.
On Tuesday, a wreath with white flowers hung outside the door at 431 Fuel Connection in Roanoke where the shooting took place Sunday. Mary Jones suffered multiple gunshot wounds, but Roanoke police Chief Adam Melton said Tuesday she was talking and her condition seemed to be improving. Melton said friends and family had visited the woman in the hospital at UAB Hospital where she was taken after the shooting.
The Jones’ two children were able to escape out a back door and were unharmed, Melton said.
“They were very loving, as devoted as a couple as you’d ever meet,” said a cashier at the gas station, holding a jar that employees had set up to collect donations for the Jones family. “They were just the most wonderful people. Richard never had a bad word to say to anybody.”
The woman, who declined to give her name out of respect to the family’s privacy, said she had known the couple for several years and they were fixtures in the community. Over the last few days, she said, several people have stopped by just to ask if anyone had heard an update on Mary’s condition.
“You wouldn’t want this to happen to anybody, but especially not them,” she said. “They were wonderful people.”
Melton said no motive is known for the shooting. No money was taken, but the suspect did steal a pack of cigarettes.
Randolph County Sheriff David Cofield told The Star on Monday it appeared an altercation took place between the suspect and the suspect’s father at a home on County Road 809 near Wedowee, where Alton Heard was later found shot dead. Cofield said a white Ford truck, captured on video footage at the Roanoke gas station, was found abandoned near the area Monday morning. The truck belonged to Alton Heard.
Police also obtained a gun they believe was used in both shootings, Cofield said.
Melton said it’s been close to a decade since multiple shootings took place in Roanoke, but this crime is especially hard to process due to how well known the couple was in the community. Even the police chief said he was at a loss for words Tuesday, having known Richard since high school when they both attended Wadley High School.
“This was home for them,” said Melton, admitting he had barely slept since Sunday. “Everybody knew them. They were good, kind folks.”
“I think everyone is shocked,” Melton said. “This is a crime with so many victims.”
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.