Charges pending against man who sparked standoff
Posted September 30, 2009
Raleigh, N.C. — A standoff outside of the Raleigh Police Department's substation at 601 Hutton St. ended around 3 p.m. Wednesday, police said. Justin Lamar Thomas, 25, was taken into custody after being shot by police when he pointed a weapon at them.
David Hughes was taking a break from his job at a nearby photography business, when he said he saw a man standing behind a green pick-up truck.
"Then he reached in and pulled out a gun and fired a shot into the air," Hughes said.
When two officers came out of the substation, the man took out another gun. Officers told the man to put the guns down. He soon fled, Hughes said.
Harriet Reynolds, an employee of Triangle Family Services, said she heard a loud boom just before 1 p.m.
"I was scared," she said.
Within minutes, heavily armed police officers had flooded the parking lot, pressing employees to leave the building, Reynolds said.
"They had their elbows on my car with their guns drawn and there were police everywhere," she said.
Reynolds and about a dozen co-workers walked to the N.C. State Fairgrounds where they waited out the standoff.
Police closed Blue Ridge Road between Hillsborough Street and Western Boulevard and evacuated nearby businesses while they searched for the shooter, who had holed up at 628 Hutton St. Police said Thomas ordered employees to leave the building.
Thomas stepped into view several times over the next 90 minutes, at times pointing a gun to his head, police said. He finally stepped outside and pointed his weapon at officers, who shot him, Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan said.
"The officers were confronted with what we see right now as a clear danger to them and their safety," Dolan said after the shooting.
Thomas was taken to WakeMed with non-life-threatening injuries, Dolan said.
As is standard procedure when a law enforcement officer fires a weapon, the State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting.
Police searched a home at 1201 Swallow Court in Raleigh Wednesday evening. According to court records, Thomas lives at the residence but police would not comment on the search.
"All I can say at this point is that we’re following up on our investigation in a number of ways," Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said in a statement.
Sughrue said charges were pending against Thomas.
Dozens of WRAL.com visitors reported police activity Wednesday afternoon. If you see news happen, ReportIt! Your stories, photos and video may show up on TV.