Friends remember Cary hostage-taker in vigil
Posted February 13, 2011 8:47 p.m. EST
Updated February 14, 2011 11:32 a.m. EST
Cary, N.C. — Friends gathered Sunday night to remember Devon Mitchell, who was fatally shot by police because they believed he was holding seven people hostage with a gun inside a Cary bank.
Devon Mitchell carried a concealed object into the Wachovia bank at 10050 Green Level Church Road Thursday. He held seven people hostage for three hours with the concealed object, which he said was a gun.
"Despite what the original 911 call reported, despite what he said to the hostages, despite what he told our hostage negotiator, despite what we all thought we saw when he came out of the bank with something pointed at one of the hostage’s heads, we now know there was no gun," said Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore.
Bazemore said officers "did exactly what they were trained to do and what they were expected to do in this situation," but Mitchell's friends questioned the use of force against someone police now know was unarmed.
"Why? No one deserved to die the way that he died," said Samantha Perry, Mitchell's friend.
A Town of Cary spokeswoman said the ultimate goal was to get everyone out of the Wachovia safely, including Mitchell, and that all options were explored prior to the shooting.
Bazemore declined to specify how many times Mitchell was shot as he walked out of the bank with what appeared to be a gun held up to a woman's head.
"Why Devon set this all in motion, why he wanted us all to believe that he had a weapon and that he was prepared to kill with it are questions that we will never have the answers to. But it’s clear that's what Devon wanted us to believe," she said.
Standing in the very spot Mitchell was gunned down, friends lit candles and shared memories about the teen they described as an artist, musician and sports fan who struggled with mental health issues.
Perry said Mitchell was like her big brother.
"I've known Devon going on seven years now," she said. "Practically we grew up together."
Perry watched the hostage situation develop on television.
"They said (the suspect was wearing) red pants and purple shirt and, you know, Devon always wore that. I had a feeling deep down inside that was him," she said.
Perry said Mitchell felt like he needed love in his life.
"He would never harm anybody. He never has. He's been going through so much lately," she said.
The incident was the first fatal officer-involved shooting in the history of the Cary Police Department, Bazemore said.
She identified five law enforcement agents who discharged their weapons: a Wake County sheriff's deputy, Brad Manville, and Cary Senior Police Officer Ricky Burch, 45, Sgt. Rick Glancy, 42, Senior Police Officer Irvin Leggett, 42, and Master Police Officer Chris Redig, 31.
Burch joined the department in 1999, Glancy in 1993, Leggett in 1998, and Redig in 2007. All four are assigned to the police field operations bureau.
The officers have been placed on administrative duty until the investigation into the shooting is complete, which is standard procedure whenever an officer discharges a weapon.