CARY — A three-hour standoff between police and a suspected robber Thursday evening ended with gunfire and the man, who police said held seven people hostage inside a suburban bank, dead on the sidewalk.
Cary police later identified the dead suspect as Devon Mitchell, 19, of Cary, but did not immediately release other information about him.
The incident, which began when police were called to the Wachovia branch at 10050 Green Level to Durham Road, unfolded live on local TV, culminating in Mitchell walking from the building while holding a gun to the head of a female and then being shot by police snipers as the hostage sank to her knees.
"This is not how we wanted it to end," said Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore. "We're extremely grateful to everyone who helped bring this sad and challenging event to its conclusion." No hostages or police were injured in the incident, according to Cary police.
Officers surrounded the brick, one-story bank minutes after the 3 p.m. call about a robbery taking place, but Bazemore said the suspect already had barricaded himself inside with the hostages.
Three hostages were released within minutes, and two more were released about an hour later as police negotiated with the suspect. The suspect was unaware, however, of one of the two remaining people inside the building, and that person was able to feed information to police, Bazemore said.
In the growing darkness around 6 p.m., the suspect emerged from the bank with the female hostage.
A Cary police SWAT team charged toward the bank with guns drawn.
Montrey Gaymon, 17, who was watching the incident from the balcony of a nearby apartment, said he heard police yelling, then a volley of at least a dozen shots. He said the man was shot in the chest and went down immediately to his knees in a cloud of smoke. "I saw blood splattered on a white van, and he just fell to the ground," he said. "It got my heart racing, it was so scary."
Bazemore declined to identify any of the hostages, but said they were all OK and their family members had been notified. Police later said that five of the hostages were Wachovia employees.
A man at Mitchell's 928 Pony Club Circle residence refused to comment Thursday night.
Four schools in the area were locked down at the beginning of the standoff, meaning no one was allowed to enter or exit, but that was lifted at 5 p.m. The four schools affected were Mills Creek Elementary and Middle schools, Panther Creek High School and Allston Ridge Elementary School.
A daycare center across the street from the bank, Kids R Kids, was evacuated, and the children taken to Crosspointe Church on Carpenter Fire Station Road. There were 117 children at the center, Bazemore said.
The hostages were taken to the evacuated daycare and, just after 7 p.m. were released to go home, according to Cary spokeswoman Deanna Boone.
Staff writer Thomasi McDonald contributed to this report.
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