Local News

Raleigh Police Release Tapes of Friday Incident

Posted July 15, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Police radio transmissions from Friday's shoot-out in the Chavis Heights neighborhood have now been released. The transmissions indicate Detective Paul Hale and his partner Pat Niemann approached the car of murder suspect Kawame Mays without backup. Just as the two officers approached the vehicle, shots rang out. Detective Hale died from a bullet wound to the head.

Detective Hale was working on only his third shift with the drug unit, trying to apprehend a suspect police believed was tied to a drug-related murder. That suspect ended up being much more dangerous than Hale and his partner anticipated. Listening to the police radio transmission you can hear how quickly it all happened.

Traveling house to house in southeast Raleigh, Detectives Hale and Niemann were looking for the man who had murdered Michael Walker 11 hours earlier. They were in plain clothes and looking for then suspect, Mays, but they weren't sure if they should confront him before they had backup.

Audio and transcripted excerpts from the police tape follow:

Det. Hale: "Are those uniforms still going to be over there? Nieman was asking me whether they should stop the people or wait on the uniforms. I wasn't sure if we still were going to have the uniforms or not." Sgt. Ken Sholar: " I wasn't aware that the uniforms were there. I'll arrange to have the uniforms close by."

Uniformed officers were in the area, but not with Detectives Hale and Niemann. The detectives saw their suspect, Mays, getting into a car in a parking lot.

Det. Hale: "Subject's in the car, getting in the car ... location." Sgt. Sholar: "All units in the area stand-by. Subject getting in the car."

By the time Mays got into the back seat of the car, Detectives Hale and Niemann decided they would approach with their gun still in their holsters. Then things happened very quickly.

Det. Niemann: "Shots fired ... shots fired Raleigh." Dispatcher: What's your exact location?" Det. Niemann: "727 ... 727 East Lenoir ... 727 East Lenoir." Dispatcher: "727 East Lenoir Street, signal 25" [officer in trouble] ... Det. Niemann: "514 to Raleigh ... I have an officer down ... seriously injured ... I have the suspect under cover right now ... ahh ... I have one lone gunman ... one lone gunman in the car."

Detective Niemann fired back wounding Mays in the shoulder. Police leaders say the only reason Niemann wasn't shot was because Mays' 9 millimeter gun had jammed.

Unidentified officer: "Make sure we have the road open so we can get the ambulances in and out of there. Make sure the cars are not blocking the road for that purpose."

Published reports say the detectives' guns were not drawn as they approached the suspect's car.