The shooting happened around 4 p.m. at the Week In Treasures store at the corner of Carr Store and Mill Creek Roads in Cedar Grove.
"Deputies arrived to find two individuals in the store on the floor," said Maj. Charles Blackwood, with the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "One party was apparently deceased."
The shop's owner, 52-year-old Phillip Johnson, was pronounced dead at the scene. A customer, retired Orange County investigator 68-year-old Alexander "Skip" Wade, was taken to Duke Medical Center where he later died. No one else was found inside the store.
"We have asked the SBI Crime Lab to come in to begin a detailed analysis of the inside of the store," Blackwood said.
The sheriff's department decided to call in the SBI to help investigate, partly because of Wade's past work in law enforcement, but also due to a similar crime that happened there in 2004. Bill King was shot and killed in the very same building. The suspect in that case was never caught.
Sheriff's officials said this latest situation may have started as an attempted robbery. With no rhyme or reason why it happened, and a suspect still at large, authorities have a message for people who live in Cedar Grove.
"Just be vigilant," said Blackwood. "Look after your property and your neighbor's and, if you see anything that doesn't look correct or it looks suspicious to you, call 911."
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Captain Daniel of the Orange County Sheriff's Office at (919) 644-3050.