A mother describes the panicked moments after the shooting happened yards from her balcony | Media Pyro


WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Excitement about a firetruck parked outside the Dysons’ apartment quickly turned to fear when it opened fire just a yard away from the balcony they were sitting on.

It started with a fire alarm in her building. Like many other families, Tori Dyson and her two-year-old daughter went outside when the firetruck arrived. When they got the all clear, her daughter begged to see the firefighters from the balcony.

“She likes Paw Patrol and she thought it was Paw Patrol, so she wanted to come out and see the firetruck,” Dyson said.

Her daughter waved enthusiastically and chatted with the firefighters for a few minutes. She posed for a photo with a firetruck in the background.

Dyson's daughter was excited to pose in front of the firetruck parked outside her apartment...
Dyson’s daughter was excited to pose in front of the firetruck parked outside her apartment on Monday.(Tori Dyson)

Meanwhile, Dyson was receiving messages about developments in his building. She says neighbors told her a woman was walking around with a knife and to stay inside. Thinking they were safe on their second floor balcony, Dyson ignored the suggestion.

Minutes later, she heard a gunshot a yard away.

“[I] She was grabbed and driven away,” Dyson said. She could see the bullet hole left by the incident from her balcony. “I could smell it, smoke I guess… I was just freaking out.”

Police had responded to a call about a woman with a knife and a suspicious person. Officers say Stacey Rayburn, 37, was found with a butcher knife.

“It’s alleged that she lunged at him with that knife and an officer had to discharge his gun to make sure his fellow officers were safe,” District Attorney Ben David said.

No one was injured in the incident. The officers involved are on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

“That’s standard protocol,” David said. “Just as people should not draw a negative inference from the facts when a criminal investigation requires the involvement of outside agencies, they should take nothing away from the fact that the officers were placed on administrative leave. We do that to ensure that there is integrity in the process and that we can go wherever the truth leads.

Rayburn faces several charges and is in jail under a $100,000 bond. Police arrested Daniel Vasilas that night on several drug charges. He is being held in jail under a $50,000 bond.

“[Wasilas] Always around, everywhere,” Dyson said, recalling how her daughter would often pet her dog as they crossed paths. “Very friendly, very outgoing, a person. This was unusual. We wouldn’t expect that from him. “

As they sit on the same balcony today, Dyson holds her daughter a little closer, hoping she’ll never again experience the same fear she experienced Monday.

“To have something happen in broad daylight next to you at home with your child is terrifying,” Dyson said. “Makes you think you’re not safe anywhere.”


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