‘Please hurry!’ woman pleads in 911 call, before Durham police shoot alleged attacker

·5 min read

A woman who Durham police said was being attacked by a man at a Circle K when they shot and killed him this month told an 911 operator that the man was cutting her neck, according to a recently released 911 call.

The woman, a 31-year-old gas station clerk who was working at the Circle K on N.C. 54 on Jan. 12, called 911 at 3:25 a.m. to report that an unknown man had come inside the store and was cutting himself with a bottle.

Over the next three minutes and 20 seconds, the woman is heard repeatedly pleading with the man to stop what he is doing before she tells the dispatcher he has begun attacking her.

The first two officers to arrive found 51-year-old Charles Walker Piquet stabbing the woman, according to court documents filed last week by the State Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the shooting.

Police identified the officers as Richard Gamboa and Brittney Vasquez. They also identified the clerk, who was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, but have not said whether she remains hospitalized and if so, what her condition is.

Gamboa arrived first and found the doors locked, according to a search warrant application filed by the SBI in Durham County.

He saw Piquet on top of the clerk, stabbing her, the document states, and shot through the glass doors, striking Piquet.

Vasquez arrived and entered the store with Gamboa. Both officers gave Piquet commands before Vasquez fired additional shots that struck Piquet, the document states.

Piquet died at the scene. The officers suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene, according to police.

Durham police investigate the scene where a man was fatally shot by officers at the Circle K gas station near Fayetteville Road and N.C. Highway 54 on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022.
Durham police investigate the scene where a man was fatally shot by officers at the Circle K gas station near Fayetteville Road and N.C. Highway 54 on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022.

911 caller asks man to stop harming himself

In the 911 call, the clerk says the man inside the store is cutting himself with a sharp object.

“Sir, please stop cutting yourself,” the clerk says. Her voice trembles as she tells the dispatcher: “No, this man is in my store, and he’s cutting his own neck.”

“OK, OK, take a deep breath, OK,” the dispatcher replies. “Listen to me, OK, take a deep breath. If you’re not safe, go ahead and leave if you’re not safe, OK?”

The dispatcher asks the clerk for the address and name of the store, but the clerk says she’s going to hang up the phone.

“Ma’am I gotta hang up, I’m sorry,” she says, before addressing the man: “Sir, please stop doing that.”

The dispatcher continues to ask for the name of the business, and asks the clerk what is happening. The clerk tries to talk through tears, and pleads with the man to stop what he is doing to himself.

“Sir, please stop cutting yourself with that glass,” she says to the man.

The dispatcher, who is listening to the woman talk to the man, asks for clarification: “How is he cutting himself, with a knife or a bottle?”

The woman is able to let out a short answer, saying quietly: “bottle.”

She then turns her attention back to the man.

“Please stop. Stop, sir. Oh my god,” the woman says, breathing more heavily. “Sir, are you OK?” she asks him.

Caller tells dispatcher to ‘please hurry up’

About 10 seconds elapse while the dispatcher continues to ask what is happening, before the dispatcher asks the woman, “Where is he at right now?”

The man is standing behind the register, the woman tells the dispatcher, just moments before he appears to start attacking her.

“Sir, please st—,” the woman says before her voice becomes muffled: “Oh my god! Oh my god!”

“Tell me what’s going on, we’ve got them on the way, but I need you to focus,” the dispatcher says.

“He keeps cutting me on the neck with the wine bottle,” the woman says.

The dispatcher asks the woman for a description of the man and his race, but the woman says she’s not sure.

The woman’s voice gets louder: “Oh my Jesus, please stay away sir. Oh my god, oh my god! Please hurry up!”

She starts to scream and tells the dispatcher: “I can’t breathe anymore!”

The dispatcher asks if the man is hurting her or himself, and the woman says she’s going to hang up the phone. In response, the dispatcher tells her to leave the store, go to a safe area and call 911 again.

But the woman insists that she can’t do that, and tells the dispatcher a few more times that she’s going to hang up before the call ends.

Investigators with the Durham Police Department work at the Circle K gas station near Fayetteville Road and N.C. Highway 54 in Durham, N.C. after the fatal shooting of a man by police occurred there early Wednesday morning, Jan. 12, 2022.
Investigators with the Durham Police Department work at the Circle K gas station near Fayetteville Road and N.C. Highway 54 in Durham, N.C. after the fatal shooting of a man by police occurred there early Wednesday morning, Jan. 12, 2022.

SBI’s investigation of the shooting

According to the SBI’s search warrant application, investigators had found a black 2004 Ford pickup outside the store. On the back seat, in plain view of investigators, was a letter with the name “Charles Piquet” on it.

Investigators later determined the truck was owned by a relative of Piquet’s, and requested to search the vehicle to “collect additional evidence related to the homicide investigation,” the document stated.

In addition to the SBI’s investigation of the shooting, which is standard procedure when police officers shoot someone, the Durham Police Department is also conducting an internal investigation.

Gamboa and Vasquez have both been placed on administrative leave while the investigations are underway, which is also protocol.

The SBI is currently investigating two other fatal shootings this month by law enforcement in Durham: the shooting of a 28-year-old woman by a Durham County Sheriff’s deputy in Bahama on Jan. 4, and the shooting of a man under the custody of a city police officer at Duke University Hospital by a university police officer on Jan. 14.

When the SBI completes its investigations into each of the three shootings, the agency will submit its findings to Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry, who will determine if there is sufficient evidence against any of the officers to file criminal charges.

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