CUMBERLAND — Family members say a man who was shot and killed at a Cumberland Dollar General store Monday evening was a hero who was trying to protect his girlfriend after witnessing an armed robbery inside the store where she was shopping.
Gregory Raley, 37, was shot and killed following an armed robbery inside the store on East Washington Street around 9 p.m.
Family members describe Raley as a family man who worked hard every day to support his family.
They don’t want him described as a victim, but a hero who was trying to protect his girlfriend.
Family members say Raley was sitting in his car outside of the Dollar General store when he noticed a robbery inside where his girlfriend was shopping. They say he told a child who was with him to hide behind the seat and he ran inside to protect her.
“It would be my belief that he knew that a robbery was taking place and tried to intervene,” said Cumberland Police Chief Michael Crooke. “He subsequently lost his life doing so.”
Family members say Raley told the robbers to let his girlfriend out of the store, which led to a scuffle – which was witnessed by an officer on patrol passing by.
That officer saw one of the suspects grab Raley and rob him before pulling him around the corner. As the officer was pulling into the parking lot to help, he heard a gunshot and saw the suspects running from the scene.
Raley was pronounced dead at the scene.
“As soon as he pulled in he saw the suspects fleeing,” Crooke said. “His attention was then to administer first aid to the victim.”
After a search of the area, police took four suspects into custody. Two were eventually let go and a 14 and 18-year-old were arrested. It is unclear at this time who pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Raley, but charges are expected to be filed by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office soon.
“We are dealing with a very young crowd,” Chief Crooke said. “They are risk takers by doing this, obviously, and as many as they are doing. I think it‘s the need for money. They think it’s a quick way.”
The officers who tried to save Raley’s life are having a tough time dealing with what happened. They’ve called in a support team from IMPD to help them deal with the tragedy.
“They aren’t exposed to this stuff on a daily basis,” Chief Crooke. “We want to make sure they are able to cope with it, go on to the next call and not reflect back.”
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