Police open fire at burglar on roof

Sep. 19, 2013 @ 04:29 PM

Officers fired shots at a man early Thursday after he tried to enter a Social Security building through the roof, leading to a second Durham police standoff less than 36 hours.

No one was hit by gunfire in this incident.

Durham police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said officers responded about 1 a.m. to an alarm call at the Social Security Administration building at 3004 Tower Boulevard, off U.S. 15-501. She said they heard loud banging and saw a man moving on the roof.

Michael said officers repeatedly challenged him, and he refused to comply.

“The suspect’s actions led officers to believe he was posing a potential imminent deadly threat,” and officers fired shots at him, Michael said.

She said the man tried to escape by jumping off the roof.

Police arrested Brendan Phillip Cannell, 25, of Chapel Hill. He was transported to the hospital for treatment of an arm injury from the roof jump.

Workers were repairing the roof later Thursday. A Social Security official said the man never cut through it and that nothing was taken.

At nearby Extended Stay America motel, the gunfire left at least one resident shaken.

Cynthia Thomas, who has lived at the motel with her daughter and grandchildren for the past three weeks, said the gunfire woke her up.

“I didn’t know what was happening!” she said. “I thought somebody was in my area shooting, and it made me kind of leery.”

Thomas, who is disabled and suffers from anxiety, said it was hard to get back to sleep.

Cannell was released from the hospital early Thursday afternoon and was taken to the Durham County Jail. He was charged with felony breaking and entering, damage to property and resisting, delaying and obstructing officers. Cannell is on federal probation for a break-in to a Division of Motor Vehicles office in Carrboro in 2008.

The incident is being investigated by the Durham Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division and Professional Standards Division, which is standard procedure in any use-of-force incident, Michael said.

Thursday’s standoff was far shorter than one Tuesday afternoon, when a Durham police officer fatally shot 26-year-old Derek Walker as he pointed a gun at officers and bystanders at the CCB Plaza downtown.

Durham police and the SBI are investigating the death.