***UPDATE: Duke University Police have released a sketch of the two suspects in the armed robbery on the Durham campus on Friday morning.***
Police departments in Chapel Hill and Durham are working together to solve five possibly related armed robbery cases.
Four incidents occurred Wednesday and Friday in Chapel Hill, and one happened at Duke University on Friday.
“The UNC ones were on July 22nd, toward the end of the night,” said Lt. Josh Mecimore of the Chapel Hill Police, speaking to WCHL on Friday. “And then, we had two reports of armed robberies, last night just after midnight.
“And then, I guess around 1:40 a.m. [Friday] is when Duke University had one. And the description, the M.O. the suspects are using, and even the vehicle description in each of the incidents is very similar. And so, it’s caused us to work together to realize there are similarities to help identify some suspects, see if these are related, and hopefully, bring whoever’s responsible to justice.”
Mecimore described an armed robbery attempt that occurred in Chapel Hill just after midnight Friday. According to the police report, the intended victim got away without surrendering any personal property.
“Near 1305 East Franklin St., which is sort of in the area of Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen, a 58-year-old male was walking down Franklin Street. Three black males came up from off of the trail area, kind of at the bridge over the Bolin Creek Trail – stairs up from there.
“They pointed a gun at him, told him to get on the ground. When they told him to get on the ground, he ran, and they did not pursue.”
A very short time later, a 50-year-old male reported that three black males robbed him of his cell phone at gunpoint, in the area of Elliott Road and Franklin Street.
The getaway car has been described as either a tan, gold, or white sedan. The suspects are described as black males with a dark complexion between the ages of 20 and 25. The armed suspect in Wednesday’s robberies was described as about 5’10”, with a stocky build, a rounder face and a short-fade haircut. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a dark tank top.
The second suspect was described as around 6 feet tall, with a thin build and short hair.
There was a getaway car spotted in some of the incidents, so police may be looking for four suspects.
Mecimore advises local residents to report any suspicious activity they see in their neighborhoods.
“We also encourage people, especially late at night, to travel in pairs; use public transportation where it’s available; if you’re coming back from the bars, have a designated driver that can drop you off. UNC publishes a lighting map that shows the most well-lit corridors on campus.”
If you have any information that can help police in this investigation, please call 911 or CrimeStoppers. The number in Chapel Hill is 919- 942-7515. Durham callers can use 919-683-1200.
Callers may be eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest.http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/chapel-hill-durham-police-team-up-to-solve-recent-armed-robbery-cases/
Chapel Hill Police are investigating after a man was found dead in his car at Timberlyne Shopping Center Monday morning.
Police were called the scene around 6 a.m. Officials say the cause of death has not yet been determined, but Chapel Hill Police Lt. Josh Mecimore said that foul play has been ruled out.
The man was identified as 55-year-old William Macintosh III, of Efland.http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/chapel-hill-police-investigate-body-found-in-car/
A suspect who led police on a high-speed chase in Chapel Hill and on the UNC campus has been arrested, according to authorities.
Chapel Hill police charged Dontay Antwann Rone with felony speeding to elude arrest, felony hit and run, careless and reckless driving, failure to yield to a blue light and siren, resisting arrest, and several other misdemeanor traffic charges following a pursuit that began just before 10 o’clock Friday morning.
An Alert Carolina message sent to Carolina students and faculty says that the incident began when a suspect was speeding on Highway 54, east of campus. The driver led police on a chase toward I-40, where he struck another vehicle. The driver then headed toward UNC’s campus and struck another vehicle at the corner of South Road and Country Club Drive. The driver then fled on foot but was caught at the Institute of Government Parking Deck and taken into custody by Chapel Hill Police.
Rone is being evaluated at UNC Hospitals.http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/suspect-arrested-after-chapel-hill-chase/
Former Chapel Hill police officer Tom Mitchell has passed away.
After service 16 years on the force, Mitchell was medically retired in 2011 after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
This December, just before Mitchell was placed into hospice care, he told his mother the only thing he wanted for Christmas was “the police department.”
Police officers from around the country responded, sending in hundreds of mementos, from patches and badges to blankets, helmets, and handcuff keys.
Longtime friend and fellow officer Eric Dallin delivered the care packages to Mitchell shortly before years end.
Mitchell passed away on Monday. The visitation is Wednesday from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at Bridges-Cameron Funeral Home in Sanford. The services will be held Thursday afternoon at 2 o’clock at Center United Methodist Church in Sanford.http://chapelboro.com/news/obituaries/former-chpd-officer-mitchell-passes-away/
U.S. Marshals arrested a man in Oxford on Wednesday on charges of attempted murder in Chapel Hill.
Twenty-three-year-old Terrail Laquam Hicks, of Butner, is charged with four felonies: attempted first degree murder; first degree kidnapping; assault by strangulation; and assault inflicting serious injury.
According to police reports, Hicks forced his girlfriend into his car outside the Pulse nightclub on East Rosemary Street shortly before 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.
He reportedly beat her, then drove her to Durham against her will. She was released somewhere in Durham, and transported by ambulance to Durham Regional Hospital for a fractured jaw, fractured orbital and lacerations.
Three days later, the U.S. Marshal’s joint fugitive task force took Hicks into police custody at a home on Sam Moss Hayes Road in Oxford. Hicks is currently being held in the Orange County Jail on $420,500 bond.
If you or someone you know needs help dealing with domestic violence in Orange County, you can contact the Compass Center for Women and Families. They operate a 24-hour hotline: 919-929-7122.
There’s also a national domestic violence hotline you can call: 1-800-799-7233.http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/butner-man-arrested-for-attempted-murder-kidnapping-in-chapel-hill-assault/
A Chapel Hill man had a pretty bad day recently, which ended with him showing up on three police reports within 24 hours: Twice as an arrestee, and once as a complainant.
On March 5th, 53-year-old David Patillo was arrested for driving while impaired on Franklin Street near Estes Drive, shortly after 1 a.m. Patillo blew a .2 on his breathalyzer test.
According to Lt. Josh Mecimore of the Chapel Hill Police Department, the arresting officer originally stopped Patillo for speeding.
He was held for four hours at Orange County Jail and released without bond.
And the story continues.
“After he was released from the jail and came to pick up his vehicle the following afternoon at four o’clock,” said Mecimore, “he was cited for urinating in public, in the front parking lot of the police department.”
That was just uncalled-for.
“We have bathrooms inside,” said Mecimore.
Unfortunately for Patillo, after he was released, again, from custody, he soon found that he had a new priority No. 1 at the police station: Asking the officers for help.
“He was later the complainant in an automobile theft, where he couldn’t locate his vehicle,” said Mecimore. “It was last parked on the side of the road on Deming Road.”
The missing car is a 2001 red Mercury Sable, with the license plate CJL2622.
If you see it around town, please report it to the Chapel Hill police, and help out a guy who had a really bad day.http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/local-mans-no-good-very-bad-day/
Chapel Hill Police will soon begin carrying the anti-overdose drug Naloxone.
“Most of our officers have completed training and we’re just in the process of getting the kits and putting them out for our patrol officers,” says Lieutenant Josh Mecimore.
Naloxone is an opioid-blocking nasal spray that can save the life of an overdose victim by temporarily reversing the effects of opiates, giving emergency responders a window of opportunity to get patients to the hospital for treatment.
Carrboro Police have carried the kits since October, and in that time, officers have used it twice to revive overdose victims.
Across North Carolina, there has been a more than 300 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths since 1999, according to the state Center for Health Statistics.
Last year, 86 people in Orange County were hospitalized due to overdose.
Carrboro Police Captain Chris Atack says his department has seen that prescription pain killers are a growing local problem.
“We have known for years that there has been a prescription drug abuse problem” says Atack. “We have been involved with other agencies, Chapel Hill specifically, for drug take-back activities, so there’s been an awareness on the law enforecment side that this is a real issue.”
While the total number of opiate overdose deaths in Orange County is small, Health Department Program Manager Meredith Stewart says it is on the rise.
An average of 3.5 out of six poisoning deaths was attributable to prescription opiates a decade ago. Now, that average has risen to seven out of ten poisoning deaths for the past three years.
Fundamentally, Stewart says any number of preventable deaths is too much.
“There are still people in Orange County dying and, really, one person is too many because we do have effective methods like naloxone to use when an overdose is actually happening,” says Stewart.
The Health Department also offers naloxone kits to Orange County residents so friends and family members of those with a history of opiate abuse can have the rescue drug on hand.
Chapel Hill Police are seeking a missing man, 60-year-old Scott Montgomery Gibson.
The NC Center for Missing Persons issued a Silver Alert earlier this week for Gibson, who was last seen on Deming Road, just off Franklin Street between downtown and Estes Drive.
Gibson is a 60-year-old white male, 6 feet tall and 150 pounds, with gray hair, brown eyes and glasses, last seen wearing a brown leather jacket, one white and one black leather glove, driving a white 2003 four-door Lincoln sedan with Texas license plates. He may be headed for Plano, Texas.
If you have information about Scott Gibson, contact Chapel Hill Police at 919-612-8240.http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/silver-alert-police-seek-missing-man-60/
In a recent memo to the Town Council, Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue says the police department purchased 40 rifles to meet a long-standing goal to have a rifle available in every patrol vehicle.
The purchase was made using federal drug seizure funds and will not come out of the department’s operating budget.
Chapel Hill police officers are already armed with handguns, but Blue notes there may be times when those are not sufficient. He writes:
“We learned during the Wendell Williamson shooting that handguns are largely ineffective when an assailant is equipped with a rifle, as the range and accuracy of a handgun is significantly inferior to that of a rifle. The potential for such an event to happen again in our community is real.”
Blue says all officers must successful qualify with the rifle before being allowed to carry one.
There are only a handful of situations in which officers are authorized to use rifles.
These include when someone has been taken hostage or a suspect is barricaded, when officers have reason to believe a suspect who poses an immediate threat is wearing body armor, or when officers face a “threat of deadly force” from someone with a weapon.
The department’s use of force policy mandates that any incident of pointing or discharging a weapon be reported to the Chief of Police and investigated. The town’s Community Policing Advisory Committee will review the department’s policies regarding rifles in the near future.
Here’s the full email from Chief Blue:
This message is to provide information to our Council about our recent acquisition of 40 patrol rifles.
As you know, we have had a handful of rifles in our inventory for some time. Their use and deployment are strictly regulated by policy. We have had a long-standing goal to have a rifle available in each patrol vehicle so each of our officers on patrol would have immediate access to one, if needed. However, we have not had enough rifles in inventory to achieve this goal, which means that an officer could respond to a situation where a rifle is necessary to save lives but not have one available to him/her. Through the use of federal drug seizure funds, we have recently acquired enough rifles to have one available in every patrol car so all patrol officers will have access to one. This acquisition has no impact on our operating budget.
We require that all patrol officers successfully qualify with the rifle prior to carrying one. All of our existing policies that regulate rifle deployment, qualification, and documenting use of force will apply. Consistent with their charge, I will engage our Community Policing Advisory Committee in a review of the applicable policies to ensure that we acknowledge and consider any community impacts.
Our current weapons policy allows rifles to be deployed if one or more of the following situations exist:
-The officer reasonably believes deployment is necessary to counter the imminent threat of deadly force by a person possessing a weapon
-A person has been taken hostage or someone is barricaded
-The officer reasonably believes a suspect, who poses an imminent threat of harm, is wearing body armor
-Activation of the Special Emergency Response Team
-Other unique situations at the direction of a supervisor
Our use of force policy also requires that any pointing or discharge of a weapon, whether intentional or accidental, be reported immediately in writing to the Chief of Police through the officer’s direct supervisor and then is investigated pursuant to our normal policies and procedures.
Our officers must be prepared and equipped to respond to dangerous situations where they may be overwhelmed by the amount of force confronting them and where their body armor may be insufficient. We take this responsibility very seriously. We learned during the Wendell Williamson shooting that handguns are largely ineffective when an assailant is equipped with a rifle, as the range and accuracy of a handgun is significantly inferior to that of a rifle. The potential for such an event to happen again in our community is real. It is incumbent upon us to provide our officers with the training, equipment, and support to respond to such events with confidence and the tools they need to keep our community (and themselves) safe.
Please let me know if you require additional information.
Chief of Police
Three people are dead and one is in custody after a shooting Tuesday afternoon in Chapel Hill.
A press conference was held Wednesday afternoon, with Durham District Attorney Roger Echols, U.S. Attorney Ripley Rand, Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue, and Abdullah Antepli, director of Muslim affairs at Duke University. Listen to the full press conference below:
The suspect’s wife, Karen Hicks, and attorneys, Rob Maitland and Michele English of Maitland Law Firm in Chapel Hill, also held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon:
Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt gave his first interview since the shooting to WCHL:
Suzanne Barakat, brother of Deah Barakat, issued a statement through a press conference on Wednesday afternoon:
Chapel Hill Police have confirmed that a shooting took place shortly after 5:00 pm at the Finley Forest Condos on Summerwalk Circle near the Friday Center. Officers arrived to find three gunshot victims, all three of whom were pronounced dead at the scene. The three victims are 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, of Chapel Hill, 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad, of Chapel Hill, and 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, of Raleigh. A vigil is planned for Wednesday night at 6:30 at the Pit.
Chapel Hill Police say the “preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking. Hicks is cooperating with investigators and more information may be released at a later time.”
In a release, Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue says, “Our investigators are exploring what could have motivated Mr. Hicks to commit such a senseless and tragic act. We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of these young people who lost their lives so needlessly.”
According to United Muslim Relief, Barakat and Mohammad were founding members of the Triangle chapter serving UNC, Duke, and NC State. Abu-Salha was currently serving as an officer with the group, and she organized monthly efforts to help feed the homeless in Raleigh.
46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks has been arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
Hicks was being held in the Durham County Jail but has since been moved to Central Prison. He is being held without bond. He appeared before a judge Wednesday morning and was told he would be assigned a public defender. He’s scheduled for a probable cause hearing on March 4.
An Alert-Carolina message identified one victim as dental student at UNC, his wife as a student who was set to begin her dental studies in the fall, and the third as a student at NC State. The full statement is below:
The Chapel Hill Police Department has released additional information this morning about Tuesday’s shooting near campus that claimed the lives of three people. It is with deep sadness that we share with you the news that the victims included Deah Barakat, a second-year student in the School of Dentistry, and his wife, Yusor, who had planned to begin her dental studies here in the fall. Her sister, Razan, a student at N.C. State University, was also killed. Chancellor Folt will issue a campus message later this morning when we have more details.
Hicks posted messages on facebook declaring his atheist views, but there is no confirmed connection that religion played a part in these murders. He also posted a photo of a gun on the social media site on January 20:
Meanwhile, friends of the victims have set up a facebook page to honor their lives.
Barakat was working with youcaring.com to raise money for dental relief in Syria.
Congressman David Price released the following statement:
I join our community in shock and sorrow at the shooting of three students in Chapel Hill last night, and in the desire to reach out to the families, friends, and classmates of the victims.
This appalling act of violence has shaken our community’s sense of peace and reminded us once again that we still face serious barriers to mutual acceptance. We must redouble our efforts to bridge the gaps of intolerance and hatred that divide our society.
Our community has been rocked by a horrible crime with the shootings of three young people. On behalf of the Chapel Hill community, I ask that you join with me in remembering the parents, family and friends of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, in your thoughts and prayers. I offer them my heartfelt condolences.
The assailant is in custody after turning himself in to police. I have full confidence this crime is being thoroughly investigated. The Chapel Hill Police Department is using all available resources to determine whether hate was a motivating factor. All we know for certain at this time is that it was a senseless and tragic act surrounding a longstanding dispute.
I share strong feelings of outrage and shock with my fellow citizens and University students — as well as concerned people everywhere. We do not know whether anti-Muslim bias played a role in this crime, but I do recognize the fear that members of our community may feel. Chapel Hill is a place for everyone, a place where Muslim lives matter.
These deaths represent an incomprehensible loss. I believe that we can find strength by acknowledging the fear and outrage that this act instills, coming together to ask difficult questions, and lifting up all people in our community who are hurting.