Officers shot and killed 19-year-old Devon Mitchell after he came out the front door of the bank with what appeared to be a gun pointed at the head of a hostage and using the woman as a human shield.
It happened approximately three hours after the standoff began at the Wachovia branch located at 1050 Green Level Church Road in Cary.
Town of Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore said Mitchell - a student at Panther Creek High School - convinced both officers and the hostages he had a gun.
"We were left with no other choice than to do exactly what we did," she said.
In a 911 call made as the standoff began, a bank teller tells a 911 operator that Mitchell was holding a gun hidden in a hat to the head of a coworker and he told her to call police.
"Despite what the original 911 call reported, despite what he said to the hostages, despite what he told our hostage negotiator, despite what we all thought we saw when he came out of the bank with something pointing at one of the hostages heads, we now know there was not gun," said Bazemore.
Bazemore said it's not clear what - if anything - Mitchell had hidden in the hat.
There were seven hostages in the bank at the beginning. Bazemore said right after the shooting that 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.
Police declined to name the hostages Sunday saying they would be made public when the official report was complete.
Bazemore said none of her officers were hurt. She said four officers and one Wake County deputy were involved in shooting Mitchell. They were placed on routine administrative duty while the State Bureau of Investigation reviews the shooting.
The officers involved were identified as Senior Officer Ricky Burch, 45, Sgt. Rick Glancy, 42, Senior Officer Irvin Leggett, 42, and Master Patrol Officer Chris Redig, 31. The Wake deputy was identified as Brad Manville.
Bazemore said investigators have shared the information about the gun with the hostages and Mitchell's family. She said the Mitchell family has asked not to be contacted by the media to talk about it.
Bazemore said this is the first time anyone can recall Cary officers shooting and killing anyone in the line of duty. She called the shooting a tragedy.
"Sadly, a member of our community who had his whole life ahead of him is dead," she said. "And the four officers and one deputy who fired those shots that day are left knowing there was no weapon."
Still, Bazemore said her officers did what they were trained to do and what they were expected to do.
"I'm confident the investigations into this incident will bear this out," she said.
Bazemore said it's clear that Mitchell was troubled. She said investigators have heard that over and over in interviews after the shooting and she wondered aloud during her news conference if someone could have made a difference in his life.
"If there's anything we can take away from this terrible tragedy is that we all have an obligation to look out for each other when a person is in trouble," she said.
She encouraged the community to use resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to get people help.
People who knew Mitchell and spoke with ABC11 right after the shooting also said he hadn't been himself lately.
"I noticed he was like kind of out of it, I guess you could say. Like over the last couple of days, I've talked to him, he didn't seem like himself," offered one man.
During the standoff, Mitchell's 15-year-old sister anxiously awaited news from inside a pharmacy across the street. A witness who was in the store with the teen said she also told others that he hadn't been himself in recent days.
"She said my brother hasn't been acting right. She said something was different about her brother and she didn't know why," recalled Amanada Evans.
"Why Devon set all this in motion, why he wanted us all to believe that he had a weapon and was prepared to kill with it are questions we will never have the answers to. But it's clear that that's what Devon wanted," said Bazemore.
More mental health resources:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
- Hopeline hotline at 1-800-442-HOPE
- Hopeline teen to teen peer counseling hotline at 1-877-YOUTHLINE
- Wake County Mental Health at (919) 250-3133