Murder suspect called 911 while hiding behind a Dumpster

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comNovember 30, 2012 

— Hours after Jay Gould Simmons, 53, was gunned down in a North Raleigh parking lot, detectives think the man suspected of killing Simmons called 911 and lured officers to where he was hiding.

According to a preliminary report released Friday on the incident, Matthew Durwood Calton is suspected of calling emergency dispatchers at 8:21 p.m. on Nov. 23 to report “something suspicious” near a trash bin behind Creedmoor Crossing shopping center, 5633 Creedmoor Road. The Dumpster is about five miles from the parking lot of CARQUEST Auto Parts at 2635 East Millbrook Road, where Simmons had been found around 2 p.m. fatally wounded in his truck.

When the dispatcher pressed for more information the caller became “vague and evasive” and hung up, according to the report.

Officers M.M. Harmon and D.B. Moreland, who arrived to investigate the caller’s report, saw a Cadillac that matched the description of the vehicle witnesses said sped away from the earlier shooting. While investigating, Harmon and Moreland heard a gunshot and saw a muzzle flash in the stand of woods behind the center.

They called for backup, and additional officers arrived at the scene. Meanwhile, detectives monitoring the situation determined the 911 call had come from a phone number associated with Calton.

Around 9:30 p.m., police spotted Calton coming out of the woods and scrambling across the parking lot to hide behind a trash bin. When Harmon and Moreland saw that Calton was carrying a shotgun, Harmon grabbed his patrol rifle and took cover with Moreland behind their patrol car, according to the report.

Harmon and Moreland radioed to their commanding officer that they had Calton in sight, and the supervising officer instructed them to “verbally challenge” the gunman.

The officers ordered Calton to lay his weapon down and lie on the ground. They repeated the command “multiple times,” according to the report, which also said Calton ignored the commands, stepped toward the officers, and fired at them. Harmon was struck in the right arm. The officers returned the gunfire and struck Calton in the torso, then took him into custody, according to the report. Harmon and Calton were taken to WakeMed in Raleigh. Harmon was treated and released. Calton is hospitalized but is listed in good condition, according to the report.

Calton is charged with first-degree murder in Simmons’ death. Investigators have not released a motive for the fatal shooting, but tax property records show that Calton rented from Simmons a mobile home in the Neusewoods Mobile Home Park at 2604 King Circle in Raleigh.

More charges are expected after the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation completes its probe of the gunfire exchange. SBI investigates any time a police officer is involved in a shooting. The police department’s internal affairs unit is also investigating whether the use of deadly force by Harmon and Moreland was justified.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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