Suspect Released In Durham After Alleged Robbery Victim Flees Scene
Posted December 11, 2003 4:43 a.m. EST
DURHAM, N.C. — Durham authorities took a suspect into custody after an alleged strong-arm robbery Thursday afternoon, but they released him after the alleged victim fled the scene before giving a statement to police.
Police say the incident started when a person flagged down an officer at 8:15 a.m. Thursday near the intersection of Liberty and Elm streets, saying that he had been robbed. When he took the officer to a house on Eva Street where he said it happened, police say there was trouble.
"As the officer was approaching, coming down the street, he heard about four shots," said Detective David Addison, of the Durham Police Department.
The victim then drove up to the officer and told him he believed the suspect had just fired shots at him and was inside a house near the corner of Eva and Railroad streets. The victim then fled from the area.
Officers blocked off Railroad Street and evacuated two nearby houses before members of the Durham Police Department's Selective Enforcement Team entered the home where the suspect was believed to be hiding.
Authorities carried out two small children and then began handcuffing several people who had been inside the boarding house.
"When you're in a situation where you can't separate the good guys from the bad guys, we have to search everyone," Addison said.
Neighbors, though, complained they were left out of the loop.
"If they're going to do some kind of raid, they should have had the decency to knock on the doors and warn us," neighbor Glendora Key said.
Police later found the robbery suspect, 34-year-old Anthony Melton, walking about a block away. Melton was taken into custody and questioned him, but he was later released because the victim fled the scene before giving a statement to police.
Officers said the people were handcuffed because officers weren't sure if those people had anything to do with the shots fired or not, so they handcuffed them as a precaution. Those people were all later released.
No one was injured in the incident.