NCSU Student Helping Police Find His Attackers
Posted January 17, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — An N.C. State student who was shot while trying to avoid being robbed is working with police to find his attackers.
Dominic Obermiller had just left a Hillsborough St. bar when two men told him to hand over his wallet.
He said "no" and started to run. That's when one of the men pulled a gun and shot him.
This is hardly the first violent attack on Hillsborough St. Students, panhandlers and the homeless make for a volatile mix, especially late at night.
"When I got here, I noticed a lot of panhandlers on the street. And I noticed them interacting with the students, and I thought it was a really dangerous situation," said Obermiller.
He believes the panhandlers who hang out there create a dangerous environment that provided cover for his attackers.
"If you don't have a permit, then you're in trouble," said panhandler Jesse Brown.
You're allowed to panhandle in Raleigh if you have a permit. Brown was arrested Sunday night on Hillsborough St. for bumming money without one.
"You're going to jail. Panhandling or whatever you want to call it," said Brown.
But the police cannot do anything to people who do have permits. Some students say that needs to change.
"That is a problem. I know sometimes I come bowling down the street, and we always see panhandlers asking for something," said N.C. State student Nykiya Lee.
"It's been a constant problem for me for the past 10 years," said property manager Jeff Inman.
Inman manages a Hillsborough St. shopping center. He says the beggars can be a nuisance. But he does not think they make Hillsborough St. a dangerous place.
"We've been here for 15 years, and we've had a lot of tenants in the building, and it's been a safe place for us. We've been very happy doing business here," said Inman.
The victim is helping police with a composite of the suspects. No arrests have been made yet.