RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The lawyer defending a Raleigh man accused of firing a gun at a Wake County Sheriff's Office deputy on Tuesday says he may suffer from depression and bipolar disorder.
Attorney Tommy Manning said he is 62-year-old William Bruce Ray's neighbor and has known him for more than 25 years.
But a family member told ABC11 Thursday that he was not aware of any history of mental illness and that Ray was drinking.
The incident began when Deputy D.R. Farmer was patrolling in the area of Old Creedmoor Road and Raytown Road. A motorist flagged him down and said a man was pointing a shotgun at passing motorists.
Deputy Farmer found Ray and a struggle over the shotgun began.
"All of a sudden he pulls the gun up and makes some curse words and fortunately and luckily the deputy was able to grab the barrel of the gun and shove him backwards and take control of the shotgun," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.
Ray's next move was allegedly to get a pistol out of his pocket.
"He made some explicit and said, 'I got something for you,' and you can read between the lines what he said. And he came out with a pistol," said Sheriff Harrison. "And fortunately and luckily the deputy was able to hit it about time it fired and just missed him."
Harrison said it was a very close call.
"He said he could almost feel the bullet going by him," said Harrison. "And then he took control of him and handcuffed him."
Ray was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm. Bond was set at $150,000. Prosecutors say the charges could be increased to attempted murder.
"I applaud the deputy for what he did. He did a great job. His training kicked in and he did exactly what he was supposed to," said Harrison. "Nobody got hurt and that's a good thing."
Sheriff Harrison said it could easily have gone another way.
"That just shows how quickly things can escalate," he offered. "And with all this stuff going on around the country, we have to make a decision in a split second and you see how quickly that escalated and that's that split second that a lot of people don't understand."
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