Man killed trying to defend home during alleged invasion: North Carolina authorities


MEBANE, N.C. (WNCN) — A man is dead and a suspect injured after an apparent shootout during an alleged home invasion in central North Carolina early Sunday morning.

Shortly before 1 a.m., deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office were called to a reported home invasion in Mebane. Once they arrived, deputies found two people inside the home, as well as a victim suffering from a gunshot wound.

Deputies and emergency medical personnel rendered aid and transported the victim — identified as Jerry Lee Driggers, 58 — to Duke University Hospital where he died while in surgery. The other residents at the home told deputies they were held at gunpoint, but were not physically harmed.

According to the sheriff’s office, the preliminary investigation revealed Driggers fired a shotgun at three alleged intruders, who were reportedly armed as well. One of those individuals was struck, deputies determined. They also allege that someone in the group returned fire, hitting Driggers.

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Deputies found one suspect, Clarence Brandon Hayes, 28, of Durham, in the parking lot of a business near the home with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He underwent surgery at a nearby hospital and was still there Sunday afternoon.

Hayes is facing charges of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree kidnapping, felony conspiracy, and injury to real property.

A K-9 track suggested two other intruders left the scene in a vehicle. The residents of the home described them as men wearing masks and all-black clothing.

“Our condolences go out to all who knew and loved Mr. Driggers,” Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said in a news release. “We are asking for privacy for his family as they process this terrible crime and the loss of their loved one.”

Blackwood added that they believe this was “an isolated incident” and there is “no reason to believe the other perpetrators are still in the immediate area.”

The investigation remains ongoing, and authorities are asking those in the area to contact them if they saw or heard anything suspicious.

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