Warrant: Argument over funny-tasting medicine led to Walgreens shooting

March 20, 2019

A shooting at a Walgreens pharmacy in Garner last month followed an argument over the taste of medicine a customer was given, according to a new search warrant in the case.

Stephen Allen Denning, 60, of 408 Henry Drive in Garner, is charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and possession of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with the Valentine’s Day shooting. He remains in the Wake County jail under $2 million bond.

Investigators say Denning shot Sarah Wright, the pharmacy manager who was working at the counter that day, in the chest from 3 to 4 feet away and that he shot another pharmacy employee, Brandon Gordon, in the head.

Wright spent almost two weeks in a hospital, while Gordon’s condition was unknown Tuesday.

According to an application for a warrant to search Denning’s 2007 Hyundai Tiburon, he was a regular customer at the Walgreens at 1116 U.S. Highway 70 but become belligerent over the taste of one of his medications.

“A victim later informed investigators that Denning was upset with pharmacy employees because his medication tasted funny. Denning demanded employees ... provide him with additional medication,” the warrant application states. “Employees informed Denning they were not able to provide him with anything just prior to him shooting the two victims.”

Garner police checked with Denning’s family, and they said he had gone to the Walgreens to complain about his medication, according to the warrant application.

Authorities located Denning at a Golden Corral a little over a mile from the pharmacy a short time later, and a Wake County deputy shot him.

A .45-caliber handgun was used in the shootings, according to previously released search warrants.

Investigators seized .45-caliber bullets during a search of Denning’s home, as well as a semi-automatic rifle, a 16-gauge shotgun, shotgun shells, .22-caliber bullets, a revolver and a computer, according to a search warrant.