Investigators continued combing the house of Albert Imes at 1229 Somerset Road, searching for clues that would point them to a motive and a suspect.
Officers were dispatched to the residence about 3:30 a.m. after receiving a 911 call that they said did not come from the house. They were still trying to verify the person's relationship with Imes Wednesday morning.
Authorities said Imes' wife, Lina, had to be taken from the scene because she was distraught. She was being treated for chest pains.
Neighbors said Imes, whom they described as friendly and kind, was recovering from a stroke and often walked around the neighborhood with a cane and his dogs. He was a retired state worker and lived in this modest single story home with his wife and adult son, neighbors said.
"He was so sweet," neighbor Valerie Bumpus said. "We were devastated. We were wondering what happened and why would they do that to an old man."
“[I was] quite surprised,” said neighbor John Hancock. “I don’t know how these people could have any enemies of any sort. [They were] just very nice people."
Longtime residents said crime has increased in the area lately, and police records indicate more than 20 calls to the neighborhood this year.
"It's gone downhill, some," said Irvin Mattivi. "It never used to be this way. Everybody owned their own home and that, but it's not that way anymore."
Neighbor Jim Welch said Imes' son was carjacked last week.
"They got him in the car and they were going down the street. The guy jumped out of the car and he got bruised pretty bad," Welch said.
Raleigh police confirmed there was a carjacking on Dec. 5 at the Somerset address, but could not confirm who the victim was.
Neighbors said they have not seen Imes' son, whom they identified only as Mike, since then. The couple's other son put flood lights around his parents' home in an effort to make them feel safe.
Neighbors also said the Imes family had loud dogs outside that would bark if there was any activity. The dogs had not made any noise early Wednesday morning that neighbors could recall.
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