Chaotic scene follows car theft, crash in Raleigh
Posted February 25, 2013
Updated February 26, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh police have taken a teenage male into custody Monday after a car crash on South Wilmington Street that turned up a stolen car.
The suspect's name was not released and charges had not been filed as of 11 p.m.
Police said the teen went Monday to a dealership on U.S. Highway 70 in Garner, where he expressed interest in buying a car. At some point, he stole the car and fled on U.S. 70 West toward Raleigh.
A dealership employee followed him, and watched him turn into a parking lot near AutoZone, at 3220 S. Wilmington St., where he struck at least two other vehicles around 4:30 p.m. before taking off on foot.
Thomas Martinez said he was at the AutoZone, fixing the lights on his car, when he heard the crash.
"It sounded like a thunderstorm really. It sounded like a tornado. I didn't know what was going on," Martinez said. "It was like 'bang, bang.' I thought somebody was hurt."
When Martinez tried to help, he said the suspect pointed a gun at him.
"He pointed his pistol right at me, pointed the pistol at the other male that was chasing him, and then after that he kept running," Martinez said.
The gun was found on the opposite side of the shopping center, about 300 yards away from the crash. Police do not believe the suspect shot at anyone.
In the midst of the chaotic scene, a North Carolina probation officer who was on duty in the area tried to intervene in the chase as well, police said.
After seeing the suspect drop his handgun, the officer saw him reach inside his jacket. Thinking he was armed with a second gun, the probation officer tried to shelter himself inside his car.
At that point, the officer accidentally discharged his gun, firing one round, police said. No one was struck.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety is investigating, which is standard procedure whenever an officer fires a weapon accidentally, police said.