Local News

Raleigh Police Arrest Suspect They Believe Kidnapped, Assaulted Wake County School Employee

Posted July 15, 1999

— Police say they have arrested the man who attacked a Wake County school employee earlier this week.

Police have been looking for the suspect since shortly after the kidnapping and assault happened Monday. They considered him to be violent and extremely dangerous.

Benny Tyson was arrested Friday at 2 a.m. at a home in Raleigh. Officers who were present for the arrest say Tyson tried to escape through a window, but they were able to track him down.

Police were following tips phoned in after they released a surveillance video showing the suspect buying a T-shirt shortly after the attack.

Raleigh police believe it was Tyson who kidnapped a woman from the Fuller Elementary School parking lot Monday night. The victim was forced into her own car, violently assaulted and left in a wooded area off Highway 55 near Morrisville.

Tyson has been charged with kidnapping, attempted murder, armed robbery and rape. Tyson is currently on probation for a previous offense. He has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1992 that includes assault and DWI charges.

Tips from the public was one of the keys to catching Tyson. The community wanted him caught as much as the police did.

The neighborhood off Cedar and Blount, where Tyson was arrested, is a tight-knit web woven together by an unwritten code of silence when trouble hits.

Police say, someone broke with conventional neighborhood wisdom, tipping off a police officer that led to Tyson's arrest.

"The uniformed officer works in the area," says Lt. D.R. Lane with the Raleigh Police Department. "He apparently has people who feel they can trust him, who they can come to him and talk."

The incident topped most newscasts. Police also released a surveillance picture of the man suspected of car-jacking and mercilessly attacking a school employee.

"We had several calls from citizens about this individual person," Lane said.

The calls kept coming until the right one came from the neighborhood where Tyson was staying.

The man Clara Burt says she knows as Benny Tyson could not be the man police say committed that heinous crime.

"He was so nice, even to kids," Burt said. "I can't put myself in that situation to believe that he would do something like that because he was very kind to me, my family, neighbors and everybody."

While the public was instrumental in nabbing Tyson, initially, Lane said when the victim crawled out of the bushes, passing motorists did not stop.

Lane says as many as 20 cars kept going, and only one car stopped to see what was wrong with the woman, and then another car called 911 for help.

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