Police shoot bank robber in hostage standoff

In this picture taken just moments before officers opened fire, Mitchell walks from the bank with a hostage at gunpoint. (Chopper 11 HD)
February 13, 2011 9:12:34 AM PST
Police shot and killed a bank robber who took hostages inside a Wachovia bank at 1050 Green Level Church Road in Cary just after 6 p.m. Thursday.

"This is absolutely not how we wanted this to end," said Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore.

Click here to watch Bazemore's news conference

The bank is located in the Cary Park Towne Center in an area west of Highway 55 near the intersection with Carpenter Fire Station Road.

Bazemore said her officers had been in negotiations with the robber - who she identified as 19-year-old Devon Mitchell of the 900 block of Pony Club Circle in Cary - after the standoff began around 3 p.m.

There were seven hostages in the bank at the beginning. Bazemore said two were released very early on and two more were released later in the afternoon.

Before the shooting, there were three people in the bank with Mitchell. One was hidden in an office in the bank and the robber wasn't aware he was there.

Just after 6 p.m., pictures from Chopper 11 HD showed Mitchell walk through the front door of the bank with a hostage. He was holding a gun to the woman's head. As he walked down the sidewalk, the hostage sank to the ground and officers opened fire. The hostage was not hurt.

Bazemore said none of her officers were hurt. She said five officers were involved in shooting the robber. They weren't immediately named. A check shows Mitchell had no criminal record prior to the bank robbery attempt.

During the standoff, a nearby Kids R Kids daycare near the bank was evacuated and nearby public schools were put on lockdown for two hours - including Alston Ridge Elementary, Mill Park Elementary, Mills Park Middle and Panther Creek High School. At 5 p.m., Alston Ridge and Panther Creek dismissed as usual. Buses took students from Mills Park, but students who walk were told their parents would have to pick them up.

A parent at Mills Park Elementary told ABC11 that she was told students were kept under their desks during the lockdown and teachers showed them movies to keep them calm.

Bazemore said her department's investigation into the incident was just beginning. She said the State Bureau of Investigation would be called in - as is routine in any officer involved shooting.

"I stand behind my officers and what they did," she said.

Wachovia Wells Fargo released a statement soon after the shooting.

"This is a tragic and unfortunate situation, and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were involved. We are thankful that all of the customers and our team members present during this incident are safe. They were remarkably brave and courageous throughout this ordeal," it said.

The company also said it plans to offer counseling for the employees involved in the incident and will continue to work with law enforcement officials as they conduct their investigation.

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