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Cary gunman's last hours become clear

Posted February 11, 2011

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— The man involved in a hostage standoff inside a Cary bank Thursday told an employee to call 911 shortly after he entered the bank, according to 911 call released Friday.

“This is Wachovia Bank, and we’re getting robbed, and the guy told me to call police,” a woman says calmly in the call made at 2:58 p.m.

She continues, describing to the dispatcher a black man wearing a purple shirt and red pants – identified later by Cary police as Devon Mitchell, 19 – holding a gun wrapped in a hat up to a female bank employee’s head.

He never asked for any money and never said what he wanted, the caller adds.

“He jumped behind the teller line, and he’s standing behind our teller line,” the caller says. “I’m standing right next to him. He told me to call, and he’s like whispering in her ear.”

Authorities say Mitchell held at least two people at gunpoint for more than three hours Thursday afternoon inside the Wachovia at 10050 Green Level Church Road.

Officers killed Mitchell as he left the bank early Thursday evening, holding a woman with a gun pointed at her head.

No one else was hurt in the situation.

The bank, meanwhile, was closed Friday as authorities continue their investigation to find out more about Mitchell, what happened and why.

Gunman's day becoming clearer Gunman's day becoming clearer

Mitchell was a student at Panther Creek High School in Cary from August 2007 until July 2008, when he dropped out, according to the Wake County Public School System.

Friends described him as an artist, a musician and a sports fan who struggled with mental health issues. But he was someone who they never thought would end up in a confrontation with police.

He had been working at a local Bojangles’ and had re-enrolled at Panther Creek in January.

"He had stopped going, then for whatever reason, he got his mind back right and felt like he wanted to go to school,” said a friend who calls himself "Stackz."

Stackz said he had worked out with Mitchell earlier Thursday and that nothing appeared wrong with his friend.

"He wasn't depressed, and if he was depressed, he did a good job of hiding it," he said.

Employees at the Subway near the bank said he stopped there hours before his death.

"I don't recall him buying anything," said Rabih Samara, who was the manager on duty Thursday morning.

"He came in, talked to a couple of regular customers here, and just left. The next thing I hear on the news. It's surreal. I just can't comprehend it."

Hours later, though, according to police, he walked into the Wachovia where, Cary police say, he initially held seven people inside, including one person he did not know was in the bank.

That person was able to provide police with information while a hostage negotiator remained in constant negotiation with Mitchell, Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore said. Hostage standoff Negotiator played crucial role in bank standoff

The first officers arrived at the scene two minutes after the 911 call, she said.

As the situation evolved over the next three hours, he released most of the hostages, and shortly after 6 p.m., he walked outside the bank, where four Cary police officers and a Wake County sheriff’s deputy eventually fired.

Mitchell was fatally wounded.

“The suspect came out of the bank. He was holding one of the hostages when he came out of the bank, and we did engage the suspect with gunfire,” Bazemore told reporters shortly afterward. “This is absolutely not how we wanted this to end.”

Mitchell’s family had no comment Friday.

Cary police declined to comment Friday further about the case but have asked that anyone with information about the crime to contact Cary Crime Stoppers at 919-226-2746.

Panther Creek administrators also declined to comment Friday, but in a letter sent home with students, principal Rodney Nelson called Thursday “difficult” and a “tragic situation (that) causes us to remember all persons impacted by the incident.”

Wells Fargo, the parent company of Wachovia, called employees “brave and courageous” through the ordeal and said counseling services are being offered to those in need.

163 Comments

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  • notnowwhen Feb 15, 2011

    To the parents and family of Devon, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I personally met and interacted with Devon. He is a wonderful, respectful, kind young man.

    Why should this 19 year old male not have just as much as a right to an education as the 13 year old girls.

    The problem is we always have a reaction and point fingers when we (the people) should be provactive. We have educators who are pressed to cover material in a short time period and are not allowed to tend to the emotional aspect of the students lives, while at the same time we have parents who are so controlling and will not allow the limited number of educators to attempt to aid the emotional aspect of their students.

    I know personally it is tough on both sides, but what is it going to take to put the educators and the parents on the same page. You have educator who look and dress like the student and parents who act like the students kids.

    What Devon did was wrong. No, the people in the bank did not deserve

  • jonnraleigh Feb 14, 2011

    "There is no way a 19 year old adult male who is almost 20 should be in a freshman class with 13 year old girls. Wake County needs to get it together, fast."

    Chenliliu3 - This is not a a Wake County policy. It is a State of North Carolina policy.

  • familyfour Feb 14, 2011

    I do not understand the issues with how LEO handled this situation. If the tables were turned, these same people would have expected, anticipated, even demanded protection from evident terror inflicted.

  • chenliliu3 Feb 11, 2011

    There is no way a 19 year old adult male who is almost 20 should be in a freshman class with 13 year old girls. Wake County needs to get it together, fast.

  • clickhere Feb 11, 2011

    glad the hostage wasn't shot by the police or the reaction from the gunman being shot. Lucky she wasn't hurt.

  • yankee1 Feb 11, 2011

    Wow! the bleeding hearts are out in force. The gun control advocates still don't get it and never will and the blame game continues. There is only one person responsible for what happened and that's the guy that got himself into the mess in the first place. The same bleeders that are condemning the cops would be the first ones to whine, cry and look for someone to sue if a member of their family were in the hostage situation, the cops didn't act and their family member was killed. GROW UP!

  • luv4dogs Feb 11, 2011

    Well none of my comments will post.. I dont really understand that seeing as to what some people are saying. This is a terrible situation though and I'm glad no hostages were hurt.

  • MizzKittie Feb 11, 2011

    Granted...this is a very sad situation for this boy's family. I would be beside myself if it were my son. Nobody should be shaming the Police for their actions. They did what was necessary to ensure the safety of others.......especially the woman with the gun to her head. Nobody can say what he would have done. It is the duty of the police to protect the innocent and when that young man stepped into that bank and held those people hostages and put a gun to that woman's head....he was no longer innocent. For all the people that are badmouthing the police......what if it were your wife, daughter, mother, or even you he was holding a gun to? You be grateful that they did what they did and you would live to go home to your family. As someone already mentioned, it could have been a case of "suicide by cop", but there is still nothing to say he wouldn't have harmed that woman before he could be stopped. Applaud all Police. My son is one and he may save your life one day the same way.

  • mrminimoore Feb 11, 2011

    I have heard and read a lot of comments to this situation and I would like to add my views as I have met this gentleman before, I was in that area when this happened and I work right there.

    I have met him a couple times a week for the last few weeks; he would enter my establishment and walk around for a while, not really doing anything, buying anything or talking at all. When I confronted him on a few occasions he seemed to be very distant and "lost" so to speak and for someone to say that he was not depressed is just wrong. I could tell just by his mannerisms and reactions to my conversations and questions that he was a deeply troubled person. I confronted him on Wednesday and asked him if there was anything I could help him with and he just simply said "no i am just thinking". That was the day before this happened...The question that everyone should be asking is.."How can such a deeply troubled man go so un-noticed"...

  • farpost12 Feb 11, 2011

    What do education and age have to do with this? One person made a conscious decision to endanger and possibly terminate the lives of seven innocent people. Whether he did this with a gun, a knife or an explosive device is irrelevant. What it boils down to is that a danger to society was removed and that the seven hostages were saved by the heroic, and yes, I said HEROIC, actions of Cary's police force. I feel safer knowing that there are men and women in uniform willing to put their lives on the line day in and day out. Everyone seems to forget how precious safety and freedom are until you no longer have them.

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