Monday, February 14, 2011

Hostage Situation

I am sure you have heard of the attempted bank robbery and hostage situation that occurred at the Wachovia Bank on Green Level Church Road in Cary this past Thursday. After a three hour standoff with law enforcement officers, 19 year old Devon Mitchell of Cary was fatally shot when he exited the building holding what appeared to be a gun pointed at one of the hostages.

We now know that was not the case. Devon Mitchell was not armed.

“Despite what the 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 pointed at one of the hostages’ head, we know now that there was no gun,” said Town of Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore.

It doesn't matter - he made everyone believe he was armed and a threat.

Devon Mitchell played – and lost - a sick game with law enforcement. He claimed to have a gun and threatened to use it. For three hours Devon Mitchell instilled fear and terror in the lives of his hostages and their families. He had plenty of time to realize the error of his judgment and give himself up to authorities. He didn’t. He continued his charade until the very end, and now four outstanding law enforcement officers have to live the rest of their lives knowing they killed an unarmed 19 year old.

While the loss of this young man’s life is unfortunate and the outcome was not what we had hoped for, I could not be prouder of the Cary Police Department and supporting law enforcement agencies for the manner in which they handled this situation given the information available to them at the time, and my prayers go out to everyone involved and their families.

A number of citizens in the Cary Park area have contacted the town about their concerns regarding increased crime in their community. Some of the actions the town is working on include:

• Increased police patrols.

• The District 2 Commander for that area has begun implementation of a new effort called DDACTS (Data Drive Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety). This is a national based model that uses high visibility patrols and law enforcement presence to reduce social harm and improve quality of life.

• Cary is following up with the Grove apartment complex to encourage them to be a part of next month’s launch of Project Phoenix. This is a new crime prevention program that is being designed especially for multi-family communities.

• The town manager will meet with the police chief and the command team today to evaluate additional steps. They will brief council immediately after the meeting.

• The police chief, town manager, Mayor, I, and others will meet with the homeowners of Cary Park at their homeowners meeting on February 23rd at Panther Creek High School at 6:30. I look forward to hearing from area residents and any ideas that we as a town can do to improve folk’s quality of life in this area.