79-year-old Winston-Salem man shoots would-be robber in the head

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A 79-year-old man will not face charges after police say he shot a would-be robber in the head during a home invasion.

“I was smoking a cigarette and the next thing you know I heard a ‘pow,’” said Michael Hollis, who lives in the apartment complex where the home invasion happened.

Police say around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, 79-year-old James Thomas Noah and 77-year-old Barbara Ella Melton were inside their apartment on Old Vineyard Road in Winston-Salem. They add that there was a knock at the door and when Melton answered it, two men shoved her and forced their way inside.

“First it was three cop cars, then you see a forensics team, fire truck, then the ambulance,” Hollis recalled. “That’s when you knew something happened.”

Police say the two men began assaulting Noah with a blunt object once they were inside. But, Noah was able to draw his handgun which he was carrying in his waistband, and fired one round, hitting one of his assailants in the head. The man who was shot has been identified as 26-year-old Lourenco Marcus Reed.

“I heard he was a vet and all this,” Hollis said, of Noah. “Why try to rob him?”

The second would-be robber, who had his face covered by a cloth during the assault, ran away after Reed was shot.

“To hear that he was getting banged on with a drill to the side of his head, able to kick him off and do what he had to do, he was trained properly. He was trained,” Hollis said. “That goes to show you, don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Police say Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill has determined that no criminal charges will be sought against Noah. Neighbors say he is recovering, but has some bruising on his face.

“He didn’t really want to do what he had to do,” Hollis said. “But, you’re getting beat on in your house, and your wife is there, what you gonna do?”

Reed’s injury is considered life-threatening. Police are seeking the identity of the second suspect.