Sources: Suspects in deadly Detroit auto parts shooting tangled in love triangle

Man says 2 women involved robbed store to get money for his birthday

DETROIT – A man charged in connection with the deadly shooting of a manager at O'Reilly Auto Parts in Detroit told investigators he is in a love triangle with the two female suspects, sources told Local 4.

Leviticus Butler told investigators he considers the two other suspects -- Shawnta Anderson and Eboni McEwen-Ross -- his girlfriends.

Why would the two women allegedly rob an auto parts store for about $100, then shoot and kill the manager? Butler told detectives that it happened on his birthday, and he was planning to go out, sources said.

Butler told officials he believes the women were after money to buy him a birthday present or to use as they celebrated that night, sources told Local 4.

Anderson is accused of fatally shooting James Haller, 69, in the head Nov. 1 while robbing the store in the 16800 block of Schaefer Highway. She faces charges including felony murder, two counts of armed robbery and three counts of felony firearm.

McEwen-Ross is charged with felony murder and two counts of armed robbery.

Butler is charged with accessory after the fact on suspicion of helping Anderson hide after the shooting.

McEwen-Ross arraigned

McEwen-Ross was arraigned Thursday on felony murder and armed robbery charges. Her arrest is key to the case, as she gave a brief statement to investigators Thursday admitting that it's her in the video helping Anderson rob the auto parts store, according to sources.

In court, the attorney for McEwen-Ross argued that she should be given a break on bond because she turned herself in this week. But prosecutors said she turned herself in nearly two weeks after the crime.

What happened

Surveillance video shows two women walking into the store and milling around before pulling out a gun and announcing a robbery.

The women were clearing out the cash register when Haller went to aide employees, according to police.

Officials with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said Anderson pointed a handgun at two cashiers and ordered them to the floor before fatally shooting Haller.

"Anderson walked around the counter to the cash register, pointed the gun at the female cashier and ordered her to open the register," a statement from the prosecutor's office reads. "As Anderson walked from behind the counter, Mr. Haller came from the back of the store and said, 'Hey!' and she fired a single shot, striking him in the head. Anderson fled from the scene in a SUV."

Haller was rushed to a hospital, where he died two hours later.

Haller served as a Marine in the Vietnam War and was a retired assembly line worker at General Motors. He served with the Detroit Police Department as a reserve officer in the late 1970s.

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