Finding no theft, Garner police charge man with gun crime

Staff writerJune 30, 2011 

— Police thought they were responding to a home break-in Wednesday in which one of the thieves fired a shot at the homeowner.

Instead, they determined that the reported victim was the only person to fire a weapon and ended up charging him with a crime.

Garner police charged Perry Whitaker of Nellane Drive with illegally discharging a weapon inside the town limits, after they determined he wasn’t defending himself or his property.

Police got the burglary call just after 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday. They searched the neighborhood for suspects, questioned neighbors and called in a police dog to help investigators find any evidence of a shooting or a break-in, according to a press release Thursday from the Garner Police Department.

But as the investigation progressed, police say they realized that Whitaker was the only person to fire a weapon. Moreover, they eventually determined that Whitaker had left his home, armed with a handgun, and fired a shot at someone because he thought he was in danger, Garner police Lt. Wayne Moore said Thursday.

Police noted that town ordinances do not allow the firing of a gun within town limits except in self-defense. They think Whitaker was in a neighbor’s yard or in the street when he fired the gunshot.

“What is clear is that he was not at his home or in his own yard” when he fired his gun, Moore said.

Reached at home late Thursday afternoon, Whitaker declined comment.

Police did discover a break-in in the neighborhood – one street over on Frances Street.

News researcher Peggy Neal contributed to this report.

thomasi.mcdonald@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4533

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