Harry Hardman is charged with two counts of capital murder and one count of animal cruelty
Police were already en route to the Apex, N.C., neighborhood for a call of a disturbance when they received several more 911 calls of shots fired around 3 p.m. January 15.
When the Apex Police Department arrived on the scene, officers saw two women and a dog suffering from gunshot wounds, and a man retreating into his home, according to Chief Jason Armstrong, who recounted the first moments of the investigation on Facebook.
Police believe that a man they identified as Harry Hardman had been roaming the neighborhood, making loud noises, which prompted Nancy Taylor, 69, the head of the South Walk Homeowners Association, to approach him, Armstrong said.
Police do not know “the specifics of their conversation,” but Armstrong said that during their exchange, Taylor was joined by her friend, Gabrielle Raymond, 37, who also lived in the South Walk Townhomes neighborhood.
That’s when Hardman – who also lived in the neighborhood but whose further connection to the women remains unknown – allegedly drew a gun and shot both women in a yard in the 1400 block of Chipping Drive, according to Armstrong.
In a video recorded by a neighbor around the time of the shooting and sent to the local news outlet WRAL News, a man can reportedly be heard screaming about a “final solution” and a “cleansing of the country.” He also promoted violence against graduates of Harvard and MIT.
The outlet noted that it was unclear if Hardman was the person shouting.
Police arrived on the scene, and, hearing more gunshots, tracked the sound to the 1600 block of Brussels Drive, where they saw Hardman going inside his home, per police.
Officers had started to set up a perimeter around his residence, when they saw the former Army captain, leaving through the back door, an AR-15 in hand, Armstrong alleged.
Hardman allegedly dropped the weapon at officers’ direction and was arrested on the scene, according to Armstrong, who said that based on their preliminary investigation, they believed that the AR-15 was unconnected to the shooting and that Hardman had used one of several handguns found in his home in the afternoon shooting.
Both Taylor and Raymond were still alive when police arrived on the scene and the two women were rushed to a hospital, where they both died of their injuries later that day, per police, who also confirmed that a dog had been shot dead in the neighborhood earlier that day.
It was unclear if the dog, who died on the scene, belonged to Taylor, who was often seen walking her own, per WRAL News.
Hardman is booked at Wake County Jail, charged with two counts of capital murder and one count of animal cruelty, according to police.
If convicted of the women’s murders Hardman could face the death penalty. At his first appearance at the Wake County Justice Center he did not enter a plea to the charges Tuesday, per ABC11.
CBS 17 reports that Hardman will be represented by a capital defender when he returns to court February 5.
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