WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — For the first time, we’re hearing firsthand from people on the scene of a deadly shooting outside BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, detailed in 9-1-1 calls made both before and after the shooting happened.
FOX8 and several other local media organizations sued to have the 9-1-1 calls unsealed, which they were today.
In them, we learn – among other things – just how quickly a fight turned into a fatal shooting.
On Aug. 6, 2019, officers were called to the restaurant for a reported shooting. However, the calls show that a call was made before the shooting occurred.
At 3:39 in the afternoon, a restaurant employee called 9-1-1 saying there were two men who were drunk and disruptive. One of those people, prosecutors say, was 23-year-old Robert Anthony Granato.
“They’re arguing with two of my other guests that are trying to protect the women at the bar. I need backup,” the employee says. “This is gonna be bad.”
One of the guests protecting the women, officials say, was Julius Sampson Jr.
Just over a minute later, a second call was placed.
“Has someone been shot,” a dispatcher asked.
“Yes, somebody’s been shot,” the employee responds. “Right in front of my restaurant.”
“Is it a male or a female,” the dispatcher asked.
“It’s a male. I literally just called,” the employee replies.
“Is he breathing,” the dispatcher asked.
“Yes, he’s breathing, but there’s blood everywhere,” the employee said, before detailing that the shooter was currently pinned down.
Documents show that Sampson and Granato were engaged in a fight outside the restaurant, when Granato pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Sampson in the chest.
“We are customers inside the restaurant and they shot one of the guys. Oh my God,” a customer said, in a third call. “Oh man, y’all need to get the police out here.”
“Some guy just shot another guy in the parking lot, we need help immediately,” another person said.
Dispatchers repeatedly told the callers they had police, firefighters and paramedics on the way to the scene.
“We’re in the Hanes Mall parking lot he’s not breathing. He’s not (expletive) breathing,” another caller said. “He’s not breathing. He’s not breathing.”
Witnesses were able to continue to pin down Granato and get the gun away from him, officials say.
“The police are here,” a customer said, in the third call.
About three minutes and 40 seconds pass from the beginning of the first call until when that caller reported seeing an officer getting on scene.
Granato was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and carrying a concealed gun after or while consuming alcohol. The case now moves to superior court, where a trial date will be set. Prosecutors and Granato’s attorney could also agree to a plea deal.
Granato’s attorney claims he shot Sampson in self-defense.