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Chaotic scene follows car theft, crash in Raleigh

Posted February 25, 2013
Updated February 26, 2013

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— 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."

stolen car, crash Police: Armed teen steals car, crashes in Raleigh

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.

23 Comments

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  • LocalYokel Feb 27, 2013

    this article says a lot about us:

    have a car - and use it destructively like a tornado.

    Want something - don't earn it, just take it.

    Reach out to help someone - and get violent response.

    governmental's have guns - but don't know how to use them.

  • HomeBrewDude Feb 26, 2013

    Are probation officers even "real cops". I thought they were glorified babysitters who did not carry a sidearm. One does not "accidentally" discharge their weapon unless they are ill-trained. This is a concerns as unqualified law enforcement officers' bullets do not discern between "Good guys" and innocent bystanders.

  • ekscholl Feb 26, 2013

    OH the police accidentally discharged his gun. I suppose they don't need guns either. I mean if civilians don't have gun, why does law enforcement need them?

  • Indifferent...sometimes Feb 26, 2013

    Hope he gets out in time for school tomorrow.

  • Sweetgrl3 Feb 26, 2013

    PO's can assist in the chase if he witnesses it.

  • rindyelvis Feb 26, 2013

    How in the world do we live in a society where teensagers are armed. You never know anymore when you are in the grocery store, convenient store or anywhere if the teen beside you is armed to the max. It is so sad and insane. If you mention gun rules and common sense though, people start pacing, wringing their hands and spreading lies and paranoia. We now have a society where you are not safe anywhere, anytime. Thanks George. You dont live in our time.

  • skisalomon Feb 26, 2013

    That is a pretty ridiculous measuring stick for discerning LEO from non-LEO. I've never called 911 and had the FBI show up as first responders but I suspect few would argue that they aren't LEO. Different agencies have different mandates, not all are first responders.

    PPOs in NC have the same statutory powers as any deputy sheriff in the state (GS 15-205). Department policy restricts the scope of their duties to probation related matters. However, there is nothing to say that they can't detain someone and hand them off to another agency

  • Obamacare rises Feb 26, 2013

    if anyone saw the news last evening they know what the undescribed teensge male looks like
    southerntalent

    If so, I blame the dealership for giving him the keys unsupervised.

  • Obamacare rises Feb 26, 2013

    I had an accidental discharge just this morning. To be honest, I'm pretty embarrassed about the whole thing.

  • subanitov Feb 26, 2013

    @mommyoftwo, don't misunderstand me, I agree a 100% it was the right thing for the probation officer to help, he just can't arrest. The only one who did anything wrong here was the car thief with a gun. Most people would prefer to not help and bash those that do help.

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