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Press Release

Cary Man Charged in Shooting of The John H. Baker Public Safety Center in Raleigh

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. – A Cary man was arrested on the federal charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Late yesterday, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina filed the charge by federal Criminal Complaint. 

According to court documents, Willie Lee Hayes, Jr., 49, was arrested on October 6, 2020 on state criminal charges.  As alleged in the publicly filed affidavit attached to the Criminal Complaint – on that day, officers with the Raleigh Police Department were dispatched to the John H. Baker Public Safety Center in downtown Raleigh to investigate reports of a man who fired several rounds into the front door and windows of the building.  According to Wake County Sheriff’s Deputies at the scene, a vehicle stopped in front of the Safety Center and a man in the passenger seat started firing with a handgun.  Officers were able to track the vehicle and Wake County Sheriff Deputies, Wake County ABC Police, and Cary Police responded to an address in Cary where the suspect was located and taken into custody.

Hayes is charged with violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) (1) and 924, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  He faces a maximum penalty of 120 months in prison if convicted.   His initial appearance in federal court is scheduled for October 9, 2020 before United States Magistrate Court Judge James E. Gates. 

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. said the following, “We are grateful for the swift action taken by our dedicated law enforcement officers and the Wake County District Attorney’s Office, who responded immediately to identify and arrest Mr. Hayes – the individual alleged to have fired multiple 9mm rounds into the Public Safety Center on Monday afternoon.  This is an example of the critical role that law enforcement plays in protecting us every day.  This crime took place in downtown Raleigh in the middle of the afternoon when the building was occupied by law enforcement, state employees, and members of the public.  Miraculously, no one was hit by the discharged rounds.  We look forward to presenting our case before the Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina, and will continue to closely coordinate with District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.”

“Our law enforcement officers acted swiftly and with great bravery to minimize the risk to our community in the face this threat,” stated District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.  “We are grateful to our federal partners for their commitment to ensuring that we stand firmly in seeking justice.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), Raleigh Police Department, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Wake County ABC Police and Cary Police Departments are investigating the case.  Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Smith is prosecuting the case for the government.

A copy of this press release is located on our website


The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at

Updated October 8, 2020

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