Customers remember store owner killed in gunfight - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Customers remember beloved store owner killed in gunfight

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Ernest Butler, 36, remains in the hospital recovering after getting shot in Memphis. He's charged with murdering store owner Kent Smith. (Photo Source: Memphis Police Department) Ernest Butler, 36, remains in the hospital recovering after getting shot in Memphis. He's charged with murdering store owner Kent Smith. (Photo Source: Memphis Police Department)
Reginald Mull (left) and Autry Hampton (right) face accessory after the fact charges related to Kent Smith's murder. (Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Office) Reginald Mull (left) and Autry Hampton (right) face accessory after the fact charges related to Kent Smith's murder. (Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Office)
Witnesses say Smith was devoted to the community. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Witnesses say Smith was devoted to the community. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Family, friends and customers are remembering beloved store owner, Kent Smith.

From messages up on the windows to teddy bears and other stuffed animals and mementos on the ground, many things have been left in memory of a beloved store owner.

"He's gonna be sorely missed, missed by a lot," long-time customer Latrece Allen.

Two days after store owner Smith was murdered, the man police say shot him remains at Regional Medical Center.

Police say Ernest Butler, 36, killed Smith in a gunfight during a botched robbery. Before he died, Smith shot Butler in the upper right arm.

Reports say Butler showed up at a Fire Station in Olive Branch, Mississippi with injuries from the gunfight.

Reginald Mull, 38, and Autry Hampton, 39, were both charged with accessory to murder and given $75,000 dollars bond each. Both made court appearances on Monday, and Hampton was released on bond.

"We want people to wait and not pass judgment on him, because I think there's a different story out there," Hampton's attorney Arthur Horne said.

Horne said his client and Butler are acquaintances but that there's more to this story.

"I know the allegations are that he was involved, but we have a different perspective, and we feel after the case is over they'll be vindicated," Horne said. 

Meanwhile, the family and friends of Smith remember him as a good man. Rick Askew is a loyal customer who came by to pay his respects and reflect on those charged in the crime.

"They need to go to work, do something constructive. Don't take what people have built up over the years for yourself, go get a job," noted Askew.

WMC Action News 5 spoke with Kent Smith's sister who said no one from the family was ready to talk on camera. Arrangements for Smith are posted on the store door. Visitation is Tuesday followed by a funeral on Wednesday.

All three suspects are due back in court Monday, July 28. At that time, their preliminary hearing dates should be set.

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