Suspect needed police escort after firing, witness says

CHARLOTTE -- The man accused of killing two of his former bosses at Moe's Southwest Grill had to be escorted from the Dilworth restaurant by police after he was fired three weeks ago, according to an employee who was there.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police aren't releasing details about exactly what happened Thursday afternoon, when they say Derrick Lamont Gregory returned to the popular eatery with a gun. According to the employee who was there, Gregory was fired by one of the managers he's accused of killing.

"Over $7.50 an hour," said Moe's employee Chris Roberts. "It's stupid, is what it is."

Gregory, 28, will remain in the Mecklenburg County jail without bond through the weekend. His first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

Moe's will not reopen until at least Monday, said Aaron Wynn, director of operations for the Atlanta-based company. Wynn said grief counselors were talking with employees Friday.

Several employees and about a dozen customers were inside Moe's about 2:45 p.m. Thursday, when police say Gregory shot assistant manager Jeffrey Philip Maher and managing partner Vincent Patrick Ferens.

A Mecklenburg County sheriff's deputy, who'd been escorting a funeral procession by the restaurant at the time of the shooting, captured and held the gunman.

Gregory is charged with two counts of murder.

Roberts said Maher is the manager who fired Gregory. He said the two got into a confrontation the day Gregory was fired and that Maher had to call police to get Gregory to leave the property.

Wynn would not talk about why Gregory was fired. Police said he worked at Moe's for about a month. It's unclear how long he has lived in the Charlotte area.

Court records show he previously lived in Guilford County, N.C. He was arrested there for trespassing in 2000. Jail records say he was homeless at the time.

The Observer was unable to locate his relatives.

Gregory lives in an apartment off Nations Ford Road. Nobody answered the door there on Friday and neighbors said they believe he lives alone. He didn't socialize with people at the complex, neighbors said, and they mostly saw him walking to and from a nearby bus stop.

Several people who work in Dilworth told the Observer that Gregory usually rode a bus to work. They often saw him waiting for the bus at a stop near Moe's.