Local News

Man Who Shot Hostage in Serious Condition

Posted August 27, 1996

— Related WRAL-TV5 News Video:

  • Douglas Carter shot and killed his hostage, Anitra Coburn, then shot himself in the face with a shotgun about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said. Carter was airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

    Coburn's stepmother, Diane Allen, had nothing but praise for negotiators and rage for the man who authorities say killed her daughter.

    ``It was just a situation they had no control over. All the people out here did their best,'' Allen said.

    Allen screamed when she heard the gunshots from the trailer around 12:30 p.m. Allen had waited behind police barricades hoping that the standoff would end peacefully with negotiators.

    Just minutes before authorities heard shots from the trailer, a State Bureau of Investigation agent read an official message to Carter that aired on WRAL-TV5's Noon News. The SBI promised to take Carter directly to Dorothea Dix Hospital for mental health treatment.

    SBI Director James Coman says Carter specifically requested assistance from WRAL.

    Listen to

    State Bureau of Investigation Director James Coman said the shooting occurred as Carter appeared ready to surrender during the longest standoff in the SBI's 59-year history. Carter promised to give up his weapon, then changed his mind, Coman said.

    Agents, listening in on a phone, heard what seemed to be Coburn begging for her life as she realized Carter was going to shoot her.

    ``Anitra realized he was not going to be true to his word and was going to shoot her,'' Coman said. ``The next thing you hear is her asking him ... not to shoot her.''

    The pair faced kidnapping, attempted murder and armed robbery charges in the abduction of a Pitt County farmer. The standoff began when Franklin County sheriff's deputies tried to serve warrants against them.

    The pair were wanted in connection with the kidnapping of Will Connell, 42. The Pitt County man suffered dehydration and cuts on his hands during a more than 30-hour ordeal.

    Connell was locked inside the trunk of a car that authorities said was driven by Carter and Coburn. The pair then stole Connell's blue and white Ford truck, authorities said.

    Although charges were filed against both, authorities believed Carter was holding Coburn against her will.

    A shot had been heard inside the mobile home Tuesday afternoon while negotiators talked to Carter on a telephone. Authorities said no one was injured by that shot.

    Sheriff Redmond (pictured at right) says everyone worked very hard to prevent this tragic outcome.

    Listen to

    Carter had told negotiators on Tuesday that he was ready to end his standoff if they would take him to a state mental hospital. Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation told Carter they could take him to Dorothea Dix hospital in Raleigh, but only after he released Coburn unharmed. The SBI asked for WRAL's assistance in communicating their intent to take Carter to Dorothea Dix. WRAL agreed to let an SBI negotiator read a statement during Wednesday's noon news program.

    Carter and Coburn survived on $50 of groceries purchased by Coburn's grandparents, who found the pair in the mobile home Aug. 22 before the standoff began.

    On Monday, SBI agents encircled the area around the trailer in a state Highway Patrol helicopter and drove a blaring fire truck in front of the mobile home.

    Relatives said Coburn had recently filed assault charges against Carter and had broken off their relationship.

    ``She's had her share of rough times,'' Diane Allen, Coburn's stepmother said earlier in the week. ``She was trying to get her life straightened out, but I guess she picked the wrong person to do it with.'

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