Local News

Man taken out of courtroom after threatening accused gunman in downtown Raleigh shooting

Posted October 6, 2020 3:15 p.m. EDT
Updated October 7, 2020 6:31 p.m. EDT

— The man accused of firing shots Tuesday afternoon at the Wake County Public Safety Center in downtown Raleigh will be held on $2,050,000 million bond, a judge decided Wednesday morning.

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said Willie Lee Hayes, Jr., of Cary, fired multiple shots into the building, damaging windows and a door. The public safety center houses the county detention center, emergency medical services (EMS), fire and rescue, the City-County Bureau of Identification and the Wake County Sheriff's Office.

Willie Lee Hayes, Jr., of Cary

It was not clear what might have motivated the shooting, but Hayes is no stranger to the justice system, with a criminal record that dates back more than a decade and includes convictions for selling drugs, assault and domestic violence.

After Tuesday, Hayes was charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, discharge of a firearm into an occupied building and possession of a firearm by a felon.

While Hayes' court appearance on Wednesday morning was only about five minutes, things got intense for a brief moment when a man in the courtroom got up, pointed at Hayes and said that he was going to kill him.

The unidentified man was heard saying "I'm going to kill that dude right there. Watch me. He's dead," before being taken out of the courtroom by deputies.

Deputies said the man was one of about 15 people standing outside the Wake County Sheriff's Office when the shooting happened.

Parts of Davie and Salisbury streets in downtown Raleigh were closed just after 3 p.m. after the shots were fired. The streets remained closed Wednesday morning.

Although witnesses reported hearing more than a dozen shots ring out, the only injury was a deputy who received minor cuts from flying debris.

Broken windows at Wake County Public Safety Center

Tim Bean, who had traveled to Raleigh from Burlington, said, "As soon as I was trying to find a parking space ... I heard 'pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,' and I was like that sounds like gun fire!"

Door, window damage at Wake County Public Safety Center

Heather Burns said she was initially worried but felt much safer when she saw the large law enforcement presence.

In Cary, dozens of law enforcement vehicles surrounded a home on Rose Street near SW Maynard Road.

Just after 4 p.m., Hayes was taken into custody without incident. The search of the property continued after he was taken away.

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