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Lone survivor pleads guilty to six crimes in 2013 Pizza Hut robbery


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The lone surviving suspect from last fall's Pizza Hut robbery in Wilmington, which ended with police shooting the suspects, has pleaded guilty.

Jalani Smith admitted this morning to four counts of common law robbery and two counts of kidnapping.

Police say Smith, Ronald Roland and Tevin Robinson robbed the Pizza Hut on S. 17th Street the night of Oct. 25. Police say they watched as the men inside brandished weapons and ordered employees around the building.

When they exited, officers were waiting. Investigators say when the suspects refused to follow orders and ran toward officers, the officers opened fire. Roland and Robinson died. Smith was injured.

According to our partner at the StarNews, testing later determined Roland was armed with a flare gun and Smith had a BB gun, said District Attorney Ben David.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.



To the people saying they wish this young man was dead. You're just as ignorant as a person that you're trying to throw stones at....
I hope and pray that his parents are not reading this hateful garbage. They are both great people. Unfortunately their son committed a crime in this not paying the price and he apologized for it. He wasn't at the he just did something very stupid.

Sad Kimber

I wonder how many of these "just as ignorant" people are convicted felons.

I think his parents have bigger issues than these posters.

Really Now

You know what your exactly right. I'm sure no one that is posting these ignorant, racist insenstive comments has ever committed a crime in their life.
BACK TO REALITY In all seriousness yes his family does have bigger things to worry about than these stupid post but who wants to see comments stating that their child should've been killed too. People really need to grow up.


None of the guys were convicted felons, sorry to disappoint you. Jalani was a ROTC grad and had finished his freshman year in college.

Real sad Kimber

If you had comprehension skills you'd know I wasn't referring to the criminals mentioned in the story.

And let's face it,the benefit here is that we all don't have to hear about the dead criminals' civil rights for the next 2 years.


Jalani we love you and you will be home soon!!! Your Family and Friends are here for you all the way through... Hold your head held high and think of it as one day closer to being back home. WE LOVE YOU MAN!!!

There May Be More To This

I do not feel comfortable about the way the police handled this, they were tipped off before this happened and I have wondered if this was a planned execution. Scary as the robbers behavior appears this was really petty crime, a few hundred dollars, right? I think the police put everyone life in danger spraying bullets around a public place. Since the police knew a head time, this could have been handled differently. Had I been a customer at pizza hut that night, I would not want to be that close to police gunning people down. The police were tipped off, they could have planned this out much better. I think the only reason one of the robbers survived was because he was too far back to be killed or I think they would have killed him too. I do not think these guys were give a chance surrender, I wonder if the police used the tip they received about this to plan executions rather then to resolve this peacefully. I would be afraid to tip the police off if I thought they would misuse this information to stage an execution under the the pretense of protecting people. For me it comes down to, do I believe the police gave these guys a chance to surrender, I do not believe they were given that chance. I do not trust the police. This should have been on camera, the fact that this is not on camera makes me very suspicious as to what really took place. All police should have cameras on them, to protect the public as well as them.

There May Be More To This...

Yeah, your stupidity. There's no point even trying to address your moronic comments. Can't fix stupid.


I really love people like you. You have no clue to what police officers go through. I am sure all these guys woke up that morning and said " I think I will kill someone tonight". It is easy to second guess what has happen in the past. How about you taking BLET course and join a PD and change the world.

You would last a week.

"You would last a week." I

"You would last a week."

I think you give guestrav667 too much credit.

You need to ask those people

You need to ask those people in Pizza Hut, if this was a petty crime. Robbery at gunpoint and being held at gunpoint is not a petty crime.

There had been a lot of robberies in the area at that time. The officers were keeping a close eye on things and were in the vicinity. That is why they were able to get there quickly.

All investigations in this case show that the officers were justified in the shooting. The guilty plea is an indication that this was justified. It was not an execution.

Had I been a customer at the Pizza Hut, I would understand the police firing on the individuals who failed to comply. I would understand the need for the police to defend themselves. I wouldn't want the officers to take a bullet without defending themselves.

The cameras that are on police cars are usually activated when the blue lights are turned on. Since they didn't want the thugs aware that they were in the parking lot, they didn't have their lights on. Had the lights been on, then we would probably be discussing a hostage situation.

the video please

These replies sound like knee jerk reactions, looks like we hit a nerve.... There is absolutely no excuse for this not being on video...i believe a video exist somewhere...and i bet that video does not look good...the last thing i want to do is defend a criminal....but...the way this was handled is creepy....what if they did surrender?

Tear down the housing projects....

Want to solve your crime problem in Wilmington? Tell the Democrats to stop building massive public housing projects for their welfare-dependent voters. And start tearing down the ones you have now. Give Wilmington back to decent, hardworking, taxpaying citizens who care about their city!

Like a roach...

...and spray, some of these thugs have built up a resistance to bullets.

Death occurred while committing a felony.

This worm should be getting life in prison with out the possibility of parole. 12-15 years will put this criminal back into society in 6 years or less and he'll be right back at it again.

I have no idea why our judges and DA's allow such weak sentencing for career criminals like this. Remember this at the next election!


This headline is tearing at my nerves. At first, it annoyed me because it makes the criminal sound like a victim. I have reread it about 5 times throughout the day and it kicked in, I remembered Marcus Luttrell as a "Lone Survivor". This guy is anything but a survivor. He is a prisoner of his own making and rightfully so. I assume he is extremely grateful at this point for his terms verses the alternative. I appreciate this news source, but damn if I don't get heated over the little things, like editing and bias.


Don't these guys (robbers thugs etc) know they are going to get caught.
I don't think these three could outsmart the K9, much less the Police.
17 street is not an out of the way place. And to make it that much more ridiculous, someone sent in a tip.

Well 2 paid the ultimate price, and the third should get life in prison since his two buddies died due to the robbery.

For all the snoop dogs and gangsta wannabes, you're not that bright. give it up before they close the bag on you.

A .50 cent bullet would have

A .50 cent bullet would have saved the taxpayers thousands of dollars. Now we will have to take care of this "thug" at a cost of $30,000 to $40,000 a year.

Its a sad story when a

Its a sad story when a mother looses her child to the grave or to the jail system. The truth is what the boys did is not something that i condone they were wrong but lets look at the big picture two mothers loss their children the whole situation should not be about black or white it is sad that their have been too many young black men that has been killed by police some are innocent and some not. How many are they going to kill makes me wonder is this really about thugs or just simply race.not sure why you people call young black men thugs im wondering if you would like it when white men do something stupid no one calls them names its just not right at lease have sympathy for the mothers and family simple as that

The big picture is that

The big picture is that these thugs are/were old enough to know the difference between right and wrong and they chose to do wrong. When an officer is facing the barrel of a gun or any other threat, the last thing on his mind is going to be what the person looks like. With these three men and Brandon Smith, if they had simply complied with the commands made by the officers, then they would not have been injured or killed at the hands of the officers. The only people to blame in all of this are the criminals. The officers were justified.

You claim that no one calls names when white men do something stupid. You are wrong. One only needs to look at the comments on the stories regarding white thugs. The people who post in this forum are equal opportunity name callers when it comes to criminals.

These kids call themselves

These kids call themselves thugs. We ain't making things up....look up the definition, this criminal is just that a thug or thug wannabe. They are listening to too much rap far as sympathy these kids should have had more sense than to go out robbing, where was their sympathy or respect. Stop taking up for criminals and trying to pass blame making this about racism.. He should never be able to get out off prison, Two people died because of his choices(OR lack thereof)...

The only thing sad about

The only thing sad about this story is this thug wasn't killed too, we all know that when you choose to steal and hold a gun on people that you are going to have to pay the consequences, there is no doubt that had those other 2 not been stopped then they would have continued a life of crime until they murdered or raped someone, and when this one get's out of jail, (at the taxpayers expense I might add) he will take up exactly where he left off, and somewhere along the line he will steal, rape, rob, or murder some innocent person, so it is hard to feel sympathy for anyone like him, whether he is red, white, or blue, it goes back to parental involvement, and if somewhere in the future parents start getting held responsible for the actions of their kids, this world will see a turnaround!

I don't care if you are a

I don't care if you are a blue Easter Bunny, rob a store and point a gun at police and you should expect to be shot.


You are so wrong. This group or commenters is equally hard on white, hispanic and asian criminals. Criminals are criminals. You hold people at gunpoint and rob them, then you are a thug regardless of race. Live by the gun, die by the gun. I'm not saying anyone deserves to die. No one deserves that, but actions like these men did increases the chances of that outcome by 100x. Where were the families and friends of this men while they were terrorizing honest workers? Are you telling me NO ONE knew what they were up to or did they just look the other way and blame it on the police when things went bad? They chose they fate. Period.



When we build another

When we build another Housing Project. We should name one street Michael Brown Blvd. and another, Jalaini Smith St. In honor of these two harmless, peaceful, gentle-giant, victim, boys, who the horrible police, "abused" for "no reason". Rev. Sharpton, Louis Farahkan, Jesse Jackson, and Spike Lee, can come down for the dedication. And we can have a march. Bring grocery carts for the ensuing riots and looting.

It's gives me pain knowing

It's gives me pain knowing that this man was giving a 12-16 year sentence for this incident. Two people lost their lives and many more were terrorized. My uncle got life in prison for being a suspect in a bank robbery and served over 30 years. No one died and was charged by eyewitness testimony, no evidence ever tied him to the crime. Knowing that this man will be out in 15 years, probably more like 8-10 pains me. My daughter will then be old enough to work at a pizza hut or another store. Our justice system is flawed and we should not tolerate these plea deals giving to the violent and dangerous thugs in Wilmington. Our leaders and justice system has failed us yet again, and again.....One day one of these judges that allows a criminal a plea deal will be affected by the same thug she/he let off. Until then you will continue to let the animals free.

This Armed Robbing, thug,

This Armed Robbing, thug, will be out in less then four years.

What about the real victims?

Many people are still talking about the families of the thugs that pushed and got what they deserved - the term thugs used of course in the generic way having nothing to do with race.

On the race thing... What if three white / Asian / Hispanic / black guys went in to a restaurant, held people at gunpoint while robbing them, then exited the restaurant where cops were waiting and issuing orders that they ignored? Do anyone think for a second that the outcome would be different based on race? An armed thug ignoring lawful orders is likely to be neutralized regardless of who or what they are.

What about the long term effects on the innocent people that they threatened to actually murder - all in the name of stealing a few bucks and cell phones. While this one will be out in a few years, many of the people that went from zero to watching their lives flash before their eyes in nothing flat will still be having nightmares.

The thugs, on the other hand, had a pretty good idea of what they were up to, and what was going to happen, and what might (actually did) happen. In this case, two got, and one almost got what they deserved.

I know one of the employees that was directly threatened, and she's a different person now because of the shock she experienced. Good ole' NPC gave her some time off at her expense, and then said "hurry up, back to work - or don't, your choice". The particular Pizza Hut had and still has no security for their employees. No, not the one on 17th....

So, all you race baiters and whiners out there, it has nothing to do with race. These were not good people - none of them! Not the three Pizza Hut thugs, not the one that shot the deputy, and not the one that the dog scratched after trying to kill the cops running a checkpoint.


Soetoro, "If I had a son, he would look (and act) like Jalani".