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Mich. man shot outside North Charleston sandwich shop

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Michigan man was shot just outside of a North Charleston establishment that police say was doing business illegally.

The pair operating the business were arrested Sunday evening for selling alcohol without a license, hours after Terrence Wilson, 20, of Detroit, was shot as he left Miss Sylvia's Sandwich Shop and Pool Tables, Charleston Chief of Detectives Steve Cooper said. 

The establishment is located in the 2400 block of Washington Street West in the former Whitey's Sandwich Shop, he said. The shooting happened about 6 a.m. Sunday.

"According to the victim, he had been in there drinking and as he exited the establishment, which he said was very crowded, he held the door for a lady," Cooper said Sunday. "And as he held the door, several shots rang out and he was struck in the shoulder."

Cooper described it as a "pretty bad shoulder injury but nothing life-threatening."

Although Wilson wasn't sure where the shots came from, detectives believe they were fired from a vehicle. It wasn't clear whether the vehicle was parked or moving when the shots were fired.

Wilson got himself to St. Francis Hospital.

Police received numerous calls from neighbors who reported hearing gunshots, Cooper said. They believe there were multiple witnesses because of the large crowd at Miss Sylvia's at the time.

It's not the first time police have been called to the area for gunshots. Sgt. Tony Hazelett, assistant chief of detectives, said police have had problems there on multiple occasions though Sunday's incident was the first he could remember that left someone injured.

Police secured a search warrant for Miss Sylvia's and found little food inside, Hazelett said. What they did find was a large amount of alcohol.

Hazelett said detectives received information that Emma Laughlin and Rodney Armstrong, the business owners, were selling alcohol without a liquor license.

"They're well known to the Charleston Police Department," Hazelett said.

Wilson also was known to authorities, Cooper said.

A check of the state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration's website showed no liquor license for Miss Sylvia's. Attempts to reach the establishment were unsuccessful.

Detectives found about 50 bottles of liquor, a few bottles of beer and plastic shot glasses and cups in an upstairs storage room with a padlocked door, Hazelett said.

Miss Sylvia's opened in April, according to the business' Facebook page, which also featured promotional images for a "Black and White Grown & Sexy Affair" held in May.

Hazelett characterized Miss Sylvia's as an "after hours" bar. A public service announcement was posted to the page in April, stating that Ms. Sylvia's Sandwich Shop was "not an A.H. PLACE it is exactly what the name says," but that they also reserve the space for birthday parties, family gatherings and more. 

Neighbors were hesitant to speak about the goings on at Miss Sylvia's. A woman who lives nearby and asked that her name not be used said there have been problems there since it changed hands earlier this year.

"It's been an issue for the last three months," she said. "It's every weekend all hours of the night. This is not the neighborhood that's used to all of that."

She was fearful for her family and her neighbors, many of whom she said were elderly and had lived in the area for decades.

Another woman who manages a nearby business said she hears a lot of noise coming from Miss Sylvia's late into the night and early in the morning. 

Detectives have no suspects in the shooting and haven't identified a motive. The victim wasn't sure how many people shot at him and could not describe his assailants.

Anyone with information may contact Charleston's Criminal Investigation Division at 304-348-6480.

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at or 304-348-4850.


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