Police seek information about shootings and wreck early Sunday that killed teen

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comSeptember 2, 2013 

— Police are trying to unravel a shooting early Sunday morning that left an 18-year-old man dead inside a PT Cruiser that had flipped over in a traffic median in East Raleigh.

Among the questions under investigation is whether the shot that killed Raleigh teen Travion Malikah Ragland was fired by a security guard working at a popular late-night eatery.

The chain of events appears to have started in the parking lot of the CookOut restaurant in East Raleigh. A witness said she heard gunfire from the PT Cruiser and said a security guard employed at the CookOut also fired his gun, according to a 911 recording made public Monday.

Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said Monday that the car involved in the wreck matched the description of the car witnesses said was the vehicle from which shots were fired at the CookOut.

Police who arrived at a traffic median near the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Poole Road looked inside the overturned vehicle and found Ragland dead of at least one gunshot wound, according to a news release Monday from Sughrue.

Several men who were inside the vehicle fled on foot after the crash, Sughrue reported.

A 70-year-old homeowner in the neighborhood called 911 just after 3:21 a.m. to report the wreck, police reported. The woman told a dispatcher that noise caused by the crash startled her awake.

“I want to report a wreck at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Poole Road, and the boys are running into the woods,” the woman told an emergency dispatcher. “They are leaving the car and running into the woods.”

When the 911 dispatcher asked the woman if anyone was in jeopardy, the woman replied that she would not go outside and look into the vehicle because she’s “scared of these boys around here.”

The woman told the dispatcher that the car was upside down directly in front of her home.

“I just don’t want the boys (who ran into the woods) to get too far, and where they are headed I don’t know,” the woman, who was not identified, told the dispatcher.

Just before 3:17 a.m., another woman had called 911 to report shots being fired in the parking lot of the CookOut on New Bern Avenue. The woman told the dispatcher that prior to the shots, four men riding in a PT Cruiser had gotten into a verbal altercation with someone in the parking lot. The men hopped into the PT Cruiser and left, but returned to the parking lot and got out of the car armed, according to the 911 recording.

The men eventually got back into the PT Cruiser, then started firing as the car was leaving the parking lot. The woman said, “One of my officers shot a round in the back of the window.”

The woman, who also was not identified, later told the dispatcher that “one of my officers returned fire and he hit out the back window,” according to the 911 recording. In the recording, she did not explain further who she meant by “one of my officers” or her relationship to the “officers” or the CookOut restaurant.

“They shot first,” the woman said, referring to the occupants of the PT Cruiser.

When the dispatcher later asked who shot out the window of the PT Cruiser, the woman said, “We don’t know. Probably themselves.”

Sughrue said the woman’s earlier assertion that her “officer” fired into the rear window and her later saying the men inside the car probably shot the window out “is among the aspects being investigated by the detectives.”

No one in the parking lot was struck by the gunshots. The woman told the dispatcher that the men in the car appeared to have been “firing in the air,” according to the 911 recording.

The PT Cruiser was reported last seen leaving the restaurant and turning left onto New Bern Avenue. Police found the wrecked car about three miles from the CookOut.

The woman told the dispatcher that she could not make out the license plate information save for a handicapped emblem affixed to it, according to the 911 recording. Police have not said whether they know whose name is on the car’s registration.

Sughrue said detectives would turn over the findings of their investigation to the Wake County District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the shots fired at the CookOut or the crash on Martin Luther King Boulevard and Poole Road to call Raleigh CrimeStoppers at 919-834-4357. CrimeStoppers pays cash for information that leads to arrests.

McDonald: (919) 829-4533

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