Local News

Police: Hostage-taker at Cary bank didn't have a gun

Posted February 13, 2011
Updated February 14, 2011

— A Cary man who took hostages at a bank Thursday did not have a gun, Police Chief Pat Bazemore said Sunday.

Authorities say that Devon Mitchell, 19, held seven people hostage at a Wachovia bank on Green Level Road for three hours Thursday. Officers shot and killed Mitchell when he left the bank, holding what appeared to be a gun to the head of a woman.

"Despite what the original 911 call reported, despite what he said to the hostages, despite what he told our hostage negotiator, despite what we all thought we saw when he came out of the bank with something pointed at one of the hostage’s heads, we now know there was no gun," she said.

Mitchell concealed an object in a knit hat and evidently wanted people to believe that he had a gun, Bazemore said. When he left the bank, that concealed object was pointed at the head of a hostage.

"From the beginning it was reported he had a gun, he told the hostages he had a gun, and the hostages believed that he had a gun," she said. "He indicated to the hostage negotiator that he had a gun, and his actions throughout the entire ordeal indicated that he had a gun. He did not."

Mitchell's motivations are unclear, but it appears that he was "troubled," based on interviews, Bazemore said.

"Why Devon set this all in motion, why he wanted us all to believe that he had a weapon and that he was prepared to kill with it are questions that we will never have the answers to. But it’s clear that's what Devon wanted us to believe," she said.

Friends described Mitchell as an artist, musician and sports fan who struggled with mental health issues. He dropped out of Panther Creek High School in 2008 but had recently re-enrolled and worked at a Bojangles'.

"If we can take away anything from this terrible tragedy, it’s that we all have an obligation to look out for each other, and we have an obligation to do something when we see someone in trouble," Bazemore said.

"We all have to ask ourselves if someone could have done something that would have made a difference in that young man’s life," she added. cary hostage Police chief: 'Troubled' Cary hostage-taker was gunless

She urged people to take advantage of mental health resources, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Crisis HopeLine and Wake County Mental Health services.

Bazemore emphasized that she believed that officers acted correctly based on the information they had.

"This information does not change that our officers did exactly what they were trained to do and what they were expected to do in this situation," she said. "I am confident that the investigation into this incident will bear this out."

It was the first fatal officer-involved shooting in the history of the Cary Police Department, she said.

She identified five law enforcement agents who discharged their weapons: a Wake County sheriff's deputy, Brad Manville, and Cary Senior Police Officer Ricky Burch, 45, Sgt. Rick Glancy, 42, Senior Police Officer Irvin Leggett, 42, and Master Police Officer Chris Redig, 31.

Burch joined the department in 1999, Glancy in 1993, Leggett in 1998, and Redig in 2007. All four are assigned to the police field operations bureau.

The officers have been placed on administrative duty until the investigation into the shooting is complete, which is standard procedure whenever an officer discharges a weapon.

27 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • commonsense4 Feb 17, 12:12 p.m.

    mgilchrist:

    Get with reality. Nobody wanted to kill anyone, but what are they supposed to do when they think he has a gun to an innocent woman's head? He voluntarily said he had a gun and held innocent people hostage. What if they tried to wound him only and he turned and killed an officer and the hostage? And your comment about them not being God and your religious screen name? It was this kid (and I do feel for his family) that was playing God and created the situation. You come off as another religious hypocrite.

  • Vietnam Vet Feb 15, 5:53 p.m.

    "Why didn't they shoot him in the arm?" Oh I know...why didn't they shoot the gun out of his hand? You gotta be kidding!
    Under the circumstances here, where the suspect is believed to be armed, and has what is believed to be a weapon pointed at a hostages head, you don't shoot to wound and allow the suspect to then kill the hostage. You shoot to protect the hostage and neutralize the immediate threat! And this is what those officers did. I commend all the officers handling this situation for their courage and professionalism!

  • hynoats Feb 15, 5:45 p.m.

    Police DO have a right to kill someone who presents an immediate physical danger to citizens. Devon did NOT have a right to hold 7 people hostage. These 5 officers and 7 hostages will have relive this day for the rest of their lives, and most likely have to seek long term therapy. I'm sure it's not the outcome the police wanted, but they did what they had to do. At any point Devon could have said, "I don't have a gun, I surrender." He chose not to do that. It ended exactly as it should have - with police protecting innocent people to the best of their ability. Great job to all police officers involved!

  • mgilchrist Feb 15, 1:42 p.m.

    still doesn't give them the right to kill him...they are not God..and that is what we have court for and prison. "what if he was your son"? he has a family too or did you forget that.

  • princessnise Feb 14, 7:40 p.m.

    Must be nice sitting in your armchair making these calls. "Why didn't they shoot him in the arm?" "Why did they have to kill him?" If your child was the hostage or spouse the officer you would have a completely different take on the situation. Stop making Mitchell the victim and have some sympathy for the true victims in this situation, the hostages and their families.

  • dakota_loves_me Feb 14, 4:00 p.m.

    Reguardless of whether or not he had a gun,he still posed a threat to himself and others by acting as if "he did" have a handgun in his possession. How stupid can you be?

  • Caveman93 Feb 14, 3:55 p.m.

    Well, I would hate to see what happens to someone who had a gun! Probably the same thing I would reckon. All makes sense to me.

  • Caveman93 Feb 14, 3:53 p.m.

    Q: So what did he take of value from the bank????
    wake_up_jeff_0

    A: A Hostage

  • thrasher3 Feb 14, 1:29 p.m.

    "Wake up Jeff O".... According to the state of NC it is legal to use deadly force when you suspect yours or someones life is in danger. At the point he holds a "gun" be it fake or real you are considered a threat to life... AND second, he did take something of value from the bank... A PERSON!!!! lol.... this is classic SUICIDE BY COP!!!!

  • uncw05 Feb 14, 1:25 p.m.

    mgilchrist- he didn't give them 3 hours to prepare and setup. If he had, they would have taken him out as soon as he pulled his gun.

More...