Photo Credit: WSOC

THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY. Click here for an archive and all up-to-date stories on this incident.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The as-of-yet identified or arrested suspect who is accused of shooting longtime local bar owner Greg Brafford was “lying in wait,” says the victim’s partner, as patrons and employees of Brafford’s bar send messages of support and encouragement.

Karl Miller, who has been with Brafford for 30 years, says he was inside their home of 27 years in the Sedgefield neighborhood when he began to hear shots fired outside his door.

Greg Brafford
Greg Brafford

“The guy who came, he didn’t say one word. He just shot at Greg,” Miller said, speaking to qnotes from the comfort of the pair’s bar, the Woodshed Lounge, on Friday evening. “He was lying in wait beside our and our neighbor’s house.”

Brafford, 58, suffered at least two bullet wounds during an attempted robbery early on the morning of Aug. 21. Multiple other shots were fired, hitting the couple’s front door, with some entering the home.

Police say the robbery possibly went sour because Brafford, too, was carrying a firearm. Both police and Miller say Brafford never fired his gun, but Miller thinks the robber must have seen it, gotten scared and began shooting.

The incident was quick — mere seconds — Miller said. By the time he stepped outside, the suspect had already fled.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) Detective David Haulsee said it might be possible the suspect knew his victim and his habits.

Miller thinks that’s exactly the case, and he doesn’t think the suspect acted alone.

“We think it is someone we know,” Miller said, “and there’s no way that boy did that on his own. He was no more than 16 or 17 years old.”

CMPD’s official suspect description notes the suspect fled on foot, but might have later “got into the passenger side of a dark color 4 door vehicle toward Marsh Road.”

The suspect is described as a “black male with shoulder length dreadlocks that is approximately 5’11″ wearing a gray shirt, black shorts, and possibly a white shirt around his face.”

Brafford was taken to a local hospital the morning of the shooting, where he later underwent surgery the same day. His injuries were serious, but non-life-threatening. Now, Brafford — whose right arm and right leg are in casts — will face a lengthy rehabilitation period. He’ll enter rehab as soon as Monday, Miller said.

Meanwhile, community members, bar patrons and employees are speaking out with messages of support and encouragement.

“We’ve had several people call and come by here just to express their support,” said Timothy Lee, who’s worked as a bartender at Woodshed for eight years.

Brafford has received a teddy bar, cards and well wishes. “We’ve also gotten pledges of support, not just for right now while he’s in the hospital, but also when he gets out and is going through rehab and for his partner, Karl, to make sure he has everything he needs.”

Brafford, who has owned or managed gay bars in Charlotte since 1984, has been supportive of a wide range of community organizations and its people. He was an early supporter of Metrolina AIDS Project and has supported House of Mercy and the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, along with groups like Charlotte Pride.

“Greg is one of those people — on the surface you don’t really know him,” Lee said, saying Brafford’s been “much more than just a bar owner to the community.”

Lee continued, “He feeds the homeless and we do a free buffet here every Sunday. I don’t think there’s anybody that could ask him for something that he would not given them. He’s given people places to stay. He’s always been there for the community.”

Lee said the outpouring of support isn’t surprising.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” he said. “We are really like a family here. All the employees and Greg and the patrons that come, we take care of each other. I’m not surprised about all the support he’s gotten. I’m moved by it and I’m she he appreciates it and so does Karl.”

THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY. Click here for an archive and all up-to-date stories on this incident.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

One reply on “Shooter was ‘lying in wait,’ Brafford’s partner says”

  1. I just found out about this yesterday and was deeply saddened and horrified. My best to Greg and Karl, I love you both and wish you a speedy recovery!

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