Officers responded to the 400 block of West South Street shortly before 5 a.m., where they found the two men who were later taken to WakeMed.
Ramon Antonio Shaw, 23, was pronounced dead, and Joshua Jamar Vines, 30, was being treated for gunshot wounds.
Investigators spent Wednesday morning canvassing nearby neighborhoods, including the Heritage Park community, where Sabrina Perry lives.
Perry reported hearing at least five gunshots.
"About 4:40 a.m., I just heard a bunch of boom-boom-boom-booms, and I jumped out of the bed," she said. "By the time I came to the door, I saw the police going to the corner and a guy yelling out, 'Somebody's dead.'"
Investigators haven't commented on a motive for the shooting or provided any other details about the case.
In a 911 recording released Wednesday afternoon, however, a caller reported seeing three cars in the area fleeing on South Street.
Anyone in the area at the time of the shooting or who might have information that could help investigators can call Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for anonymous tips that help solve felony cases.
Neighbors say the case is the first shooting in the area, but that they are concerned about a nearby nightclub that they say has a rowdy crowd every night.
Tuesday's fatal shooting is the second case in as many months in which someone was killed in the downtown area.
A 16-year-old boy was fatally stabbed during the city's downtown Fourth of July celebration.
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