The shooting happened Tuesday at 407 W. Gannon Avenue just after 6 p.m.
The victim, later identified as Carlton Damon Jr., ran inside the vape shop for help after being shot. First responders quickly arrived and took him to the hospital, but he died from his injuries.
"The 17-year-old boy, god knows, who knows he might be a doctor. He might be a police officer. He might be a president. Nobody knows. But to cut that life short-it's sad," nearby business owner Binta Jamba said.
Shirley Carter said Carlton was her only son.
"I just want justice," she said on Wednesday.
"This is not a good thing at all. It's not a good thing. It really has thrown me just, I really just still don't know," Carlton Damon Sr. said.
He said his son and the suspect were fighting over a girl.
"I had spoken to the both of them. And, you know, I thought, whatever I said to them, maybe penetrated through it at some point, but I guess not," Damon Sr. said.
Zebulon Police Department took to social media seeking help identifying the shooter. The department posted surveillance photos showing a man in a red shirt and orange hat.
Several hours later, the department announced that Javion Whitfield was behind bars on murder charges.
Whitfield is expected to face a judge Wednesday for his first court appearance.
"This type of activity is uncommon for our small town. It is heartbreaking to deal with such a senseless act in our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family," said Chief Jacqui Boykin.
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