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Two Leland men killed, another arrested following shootout with police

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By Sam Hickman

 Two Brunswick County men were fatally shot and another was injured late Friday night, Oct. 25, following an armed robbery and exchange of gunfire with police at the Pizza Hut on South 17th Street in Wilmington.

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Ronald Roland, 18, and Tevin Robinson, 20, both of Leland, were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead several hours later.

It was the fourth robbery or attempted robbery of a local Pizza Hut within the past two months.

Jalani Lamar Smith, 20, who was treated at New Hanover Regional Medical Center and released, is being held in the New Hanover County jail with bail set at $1.5 million.

Smith made his first court appearance Monday, Oct. 28, and is charged with four counts of first-degree kidnapping, five counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery.

Law enforcement officers focusing on surveillance of local restaurants were near the Pizza Hut and confronted the three men as they emerged from the building.

“We have had a rash of robberies, and we have put a lot of focus on monitoring businesses,” said Wilmington police spokeswoman Linda Rawley.

The three men approached an employee outside the restaurant about 11:45 p.m., forced the employee back into the restaurant at gunpoint and robbed those inside, Rawley said. The restaurant was open at the time.

Rawley could not say exactly how officers became aware of the robbery, but when the three men left the building, police approached them.

When they refused to obey police commands, shots were fired and all three men were injured, Rawley said.

No officers were hurt, and their names have not been released.

State Bureau of Investigation agents were on the scene early Saturday, Oct. 26, to investigate, Rawley said, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.

Roland, Robinson and Smith attended North Brunswick High School in Leland, where they also played sports. In March 2012, Roland was a player of the week nominee for track and field.

Roland was arrested earlier this year in a Navassa home invasion, but the charges were dismissed in July, Brunswick County court records show.

Roland also was arrested in Brunswick County in late January on charges of possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. Wilmington police records show he was arrested at 10:40 p.m. Oct. 5 at 400 Mosley St. on a charge of failure to appear.

Smith, too, recently was jailed in Brunswick County. Court records show he faces charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and carrying a concealed gun pending.

 

Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or shickman@brunswickbeacon.com.