Local News

Safety concerns heightened by Cary hostage standoff

Posted February 12, 2011 4:28 p.m. EST
Updated February 13, 2011 9:40 a.m. EST

— Triangle residents watched in horror Thursday as a hostage situation at a Cary bank unfolded on television, ending in gunfire. But people living near the scene, the Wachovia Bank on Green Level Road, say crime in the neighborhood is on the upswing and they're concerned.

Neighborhood residents have contacted authorities about what they say is a growing number of violent incidents in the area. The Wachovia bank where authorities say Devon Mitchell held at least two people hostage before being shot and killed by officers Thursday was also robbed in December.

"They have heightened concerns now that the hostage situation has taken place, and we take those concerns very seriously," Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said Saturday. 

In April, Jibrael Menelik, 28, was killed in a shooting at The Grove at Cary Park, a nearby apartment complex. It was the town's first murder in two years.

"We do need to have more people step up and watch this area," said Brandon Hitte, who lives in the neighborhood. "It keeps being a repeated offense in this same general area."

After Menelik was murdered, Cary police met with residents to address concerns about public safety.

"It doesn't matter where you live, where you go, there's always going to be issues," Hitte said. "It just depends on how you handle them and how the community handles them."

Neighbors said they want to be assured that more is being done to combat crime in the area and they want town leaders to meet with them directly.

"We have a lot of information right now we can't give because of the investigation, so once we have a handle on that, we'll be glad to meet with them and work on ways to enhance the safety of their community," Weinbrecht said. 

He added that Cary police have increased patrols in the area.

According to a 911 caller, Mitchell entered the bank with a gun early Thursday evening and told an employee to call police. The caller said Mitchell was holding a gun wrapped in a hat to a bank employee's head. 

Officers killed MItchell as he left the bank, holding a woman with a gun pointed at her head.

No one else was hurt in the situation.