CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ A man who police say was gunned down outside the federal courthouse by his former business partner had accused his associate of stealing money from their company, authorities said.

Richard Eric Morton, 45, was killed Tuesday afternoon as he and his wife, Rebecca, arrived at the courthouse to attend a creditors' meeting for his personal bankruptcy filing, authorities said.

Albert Alexander Tisdale, 58, was charged with murder and was being held without bond in the Mecklenburg County jail, said police Capt. Randy Johnson.

Morton and Tisdale were partners in a furniture store they opened last July with a $20,000 bank loan. That loan, secured by company equipment and the partners' signatures, was at the center of the men's dispute, said Morton's attorney, Rodney Seaford.

Morgan bought out Tisdale in January and the company closed in March.

Seaford said Morton believed Tisdale and a former employee, who died this spring, may have taken company funds before Tisdale was bought out. According to court records, Morton couldn't locate the company's financial books for two months of 1990.

Morton filed for personal bankruptcy after he suffered a mild heart attack, Seaford said. He said his client listed about $134,000 in debt, but most of that was the mortgage on his home.

Morton and his wife were outside the courthouse when a man stepped into their path, fired five times, then dropped the gun to the concrete and froze.

A Customs agent who witnessed the shooting wrestled Tisdale to the ground and took his gun, authorities said.