Shots were fired at officers, but no officers were hit, as they pursued four robbery suspects Wednesday morning in Cary. They captured three of the suspects before the fourth one got away, and the ensuing manhunt forced the lockdown of 13 schools in Cary and North Raleigh.
The suspect was last seen at a BP station mid-afternoon in the area of Spring Forest Road and Litchford Road in North Raleigh.
According to Michael Evans of the Wake County Public School System, eight schools in north Raleigh were locked down for about 30 minutes.
Police said the suspect is "armed and extremely dangerous." He is described as a black male, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 250 pounds, wearing a light shirt, dark pants and tennis shoes. Anyone who sees the suspect is asked to call 911 immediately.
As Cary police searched for the suspect in MacDonald Woods Park between U.S. 1/64 and Cary Parkway following the robbery Wednesday, he carjacked a vehicle and headed to the North Raleigh BP, where he then got into a Tri-City taxicab.
The carjacking victim was unharmed. He drove back to his residence in Cary, where he was interviewed by police.
Prior to the carjacking, a Highway Patrol helicopter searched the MacDonalds Wood Park area from overhead. Officers on the ground stopped vehicles and talked to residents in an effort to catch the suspect. A portion of southbound U.S 1/64 was shut down, and five Cary schools were locked down.
Cary police said it all started when the suspect walked into J.M. Edwards Jewelers on Kildaire Farm Road and cased the store. Three masked men then came in and forced everyone to the floor at gunpoint.
"The entire group proceeded to smash the cases and remove property from inside the cases," said Cary police Lt. Barry Nickalson.
According to Susan Moran of the Cary Police Department, Cary 911 received a call from a store employee at 10:43 a.m. Wednesday, stating that the store was being robbed. The caller identified the suspects as black males, noting that at least one had a handgun. The suspects fled the scene in a rented silver van.
With help from other agencies, police blanketed the area around U.S. 1/64 and Cary Parkway. The suspects and the abandoned van were later seen at MacDonald Woods Park. The suspects fired several shots at officers on the scene, but three of them were apprehended.
Cary police arrested Tracy Peterson, 23, of Raleigh, Alex Samuel Folk, 30, of Smithfield, and Craig Ryan Kirby, of Raleigh.
Each suspect is charged with the following felonies: Going Armed to the Terror of the Public, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill and Attempted Murder.
"They were desperate to get away and didn't mind firing at police officers," Nickalson said. "That just shows their state of mind. Until this individual is safely brought in, he is a dangerous person."
A nearby break-in alerted police that the fourth suspect may be near. They warned people in the area to be on the lookout. That was when a 72-year-old Cary man reported that he had been carjacked by someone matching the suspect's description.
According to the victim, the suspect carjacked the vehicle in the Seabrook Avenue area of Cary. He had the victim drive him to the BP station, where the victim said he apologized for involving him in the chase and left him unharmed before jumping into the taxi.
Raleigh police are continuing the search for the suspect. Cary police, meanwhile, continued the ground search of Seabrook Avenue for evidence and interviewed the three suspects in custody.
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