St. Peter has a new angel with the muscle to watch over heaven’s gate.
Friends and coworkers left flowers, candles and personal remembrances at a doorway Monday where bouncer Todd Asa North was fatally shot early Sunday at Flyers in Havelock.
“He was probably about 6-1 or 6-2 and weighed every bit of 255 or 260, and he literally looked like one of those guys that would go to gym and work out constantly,” Flyers owner John Bruns said. “His calves were bigger than my thighs. He was just a massive guy. We’re going to miss him.”
The suspect in the case, Jonathan Richard Pugh, 18, of Havelock, was shot as he and North exchanged gunfire at the front door of the bar at 1:13 a.m. Sunday. He faces an open count of murder and is being treated at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.
The bar’s front door had three bullet holes in the glass. One round struck the side of the door and was recovered from the adjacent door frame. The door was covered by a sheet of plywood on Monday and several people had left notes of remembrance written in marker on the outside, along with flowers and candles.
“He never met a man that he didn’t like," Bruns said, describing North with a famous quote from Will Rogers. "Everybody was at 100 percent with Todd when he first met you, and you could decrease it or increase it from there.”
Bruns said North was a good employee.
“He had a certain confidence and swagger about him where he knew he could always take care of it on his own and he never had to worry about anybody backing him up, but on the other hand at the same time he was also that same guy that, if you were in trouble or somebody was picking on you, he didn’t care who you were or what race you were or what religion you were, he was one of these guys who would physically go to your aid even if it was to his peril,” he said. “He didn’t care. He was a total selfless servant.
“The bottom line is he was always fair to people and that’s why I like him. I put him in charge of security and that’s why.”
North was a native of California and served as a U.S. Marine at Cherry Point. North left the Corps as a staff sergeant and adopted Havelock as a second home, taking up jobs as a bouncer at many bars. He reportedly had become a new father.
Amber Onizuk, a bartender at Flyers, remembered all of the stories North used to tell.
“He’s funny,” she said. “He used to tell us stories all the time, just an awesome person, fun to be around. He used to make us laugh all of the time.
“We’d sit after work and talk to him. He had a lot of stories, a lot of funny stories. He would tell us crazy stories about being in the Marine Corps and then stories about bouncing other places. He was a funny person.”
Heather Ross, of Havelock, a patron of the bar, came up to the closed doorway to put down some flowers on Monday morning.
“I just felt the need to bring some flowers and a candle for the memorial because of just the fact that he was a good man and everybody loved him,” she said. “He was loved by a lot of people. Every time I came here, he was always here with a big mug of coffee in his hand. Really good man. Very big man, with a big heart to go with it.”
Ross said she was in shock after hearing about the bouncer’s death.
“I know these things happen all over,” she said. “It’s kind of surreal when it’s this close to home and when it’s someone that you’re familiar with.”
Havelock police are still investigating the shooting and did not release any new information on Monday. North’s autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
According to the initial investigation, Havelock police received a call of shots fired at 1:13 a.m. Sunday at the bar at 400 Fontana Blvd. North, 39, of Havelock, was guarding the front door to the nightclub when he was allegedly shot four times by Pugh, a Havelock High student.
North died later at CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern.
Pugh initially fled the scene after the shooting, but upon discovering he had been shot, starting banging on doors for someone to call 911 to get him help.
Several others were injured by the gunfire including one Marine who was shot in each leg, a second Marine that was shot in one leg, and three people that were hit by bullet fragments, according to Havelock Police Investigator Lt. Brian Woods.
Surveillance video from the bar shows a man said to be Pugh walking to the front door with a gun in one hand. It also shows a crowded bar as patrons dived to the floor as the shots started flying.
Investigators say Pugh, who entered the bar with two older men, was involved in a fight and was thrown out early in the evening. Woods said that two people were hurt in the fight.
Pugh left and apparently returned later with a gun.
Police recovered a Smith and Wesson .40-caliber semiautomatic allegedly used by Pugh and a Sig Sauer .45-caliber semiautomatic that was used by North.
Woods said that all of the gunfire occurred in the vicinity of the front door to the establishment in a standoff between Pugh, who walked up from the outside, and North, who came from inside. Woods said it is not clear exactly what happened when the two men confronted one another and that the sequence of events was still being investigated.