Black man Kills White Grocery Store Owner and the Community
By: BILL DIPAOLO
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A 19-year-old Belle Glade man, a first year student at Palm
Beach State College with no arrest record, could receive the death penalty
after his arrest Saturday for the murder of Belle Glade grocery store owner
Corey Graham Jr. was charged with first-degree murder with a
firearm, aggravated assault with a firearm and armed robbery with a firearm.
Many calls from people in the community led to the arrest,
said Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, who had offered a $25,000 reward for information
leading to capture and conviction of the killer.
“The cooperation from the community was
essential,” Bradshaw at an 11 p.m. press conference announcing the arrest.
State Attorney Michael McAuliffe would not comment on
whether he would seek the death penalty.
Dressed in tuxedoes with their collars open, the two men
announced the arrest in front of the Palm Beach County Jail. They had been at
the Palm Beach Police Foundation’s ball at Mar-a-Lago, where Donald Trump was a
guest to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Palm Beach police
The investigation continues. Bradshaw said the murder weapon
has not been found.
The arrest would not have been made so quickly without the
cooperation from Belle Glade residents, said McAuliffe.
“This could be a turning point for us in winning
community support,” he said.
Pleas of “stop the violence” came from local
pastors and residents of the community following the Monday shooting of
McMillan, 49, at his popular Alabama Georgia Grocery Store, located in the 700
block of Southwest Martin Luther King Boulevard in Belle Glade.
Police said a man wearing a mask entered the store at about
6:30 a.m. and attempted a robbery. McMillan was found lying on the floor with a
gunshot wound. He was flown to Delray Medical Center, where he died. The
shooter escaped but was recorded on surveillance cameras, according to the
McMillan, a champion bass fisherman and father of three, was
Palm Beach County’s first homicide victim in 2012. Residents said McMillan
often gave credit to residents without cash, cooked meals for unemployed and
The store was started in the 1940s by the grandfather of
McMillan’s mother, Linda. Linda McMillan went to work there when she was 13.
Eventually, she and her husband bought it.
The day after his death, many friends of the McMillan family
and store customers filled out a poster that covered the shuttered metal doors
of the store.
“We will miss you,” wrote Sarah Pittman.
“Your jokes, your laugh and sneaking up behind people scaring the heck out
of them. You were a good boss when I worked here. Rest in Peace, Jimmy.”
Wrote Dee-Dee: “R.I.P. Jimmy. Your smile and kindness
will be truly missed.”
McMillan was white and his family had run their store for
decades on Martin Luther King Boulevard in the predominantly black
It was his black customers and friends from that
neighborhood who trooped up to the door hour after hour, some to sign, others
just to look and grieve.
“We need the community to help us,” said Connie
Deaton, McMillan’s sister, speaking outside the home of their parents.
“We’re begging anyone with information to contact the sheriff’s
department. We need help to find who did this.”