Wachovia Bank Hostage Update: Hidden Hostage Helps Police End Three-Hour North Carolina Standoff

Devon Mitchell (Personal Photo)
Wachovia Bank Hostage Update: Hidden Hostage Helps Police in Three-Hour North Carolina Standoff
Devon Mitchell (CBS affiliate WRAL)

(CBS/AP) The death of the North Carolina teen who took hostages inside a Wachovia Bank branch in Cary, N.C. Thursday was not necessarily how police had hoped the three-hour standoff would end; however, with help from a hiding hostage, they were able to keep everyone else involved - the hostages, officers, and innocent bystanders - out of harm's way.

"This is absolutely not how we wanted this to end," Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore said. "It is a very sad situation that we did end up shooting the suspect."

Authorities said the tense standoff between 19-year-old Devon Mitchell and police began around 3 p.m. and played out on live television Thursday evening.

Mitchell attempted to rob the Wachovia bank on the western edge of Cary, a booming suburb west of Raleigh that prides itself on having little crime.

Within minutes, police arrived at the scene and realized that Mitchell had taken as many as seven people in the bank hostage.

Police were able to negotiate the release of four of them; however, three people remained inside.

Bazemore said Mitchell was not aware of one of the hostages who relayed information to authorities outside the bank.

As darkness fell, Mitchell walked out of the bank holding a gun to the head of a female hostage.

Police fired, and Mitchell crumpled to the ground amid a cluster of gunshots and smoke. The hostage also fell to the ground, but was unharmed.

"I stand behind our officers and what they did," Bazemore said.

As police and the State Bureau of Investigation try to determine exactly what happened and why, they asked that anyone with information about the crime contact Cary Crime Stoppers at 919-226-2746. Crime Stoppers pays up to $2,500 for information and calls are kept confidential.