Mother describes panicked moments after shooting occurs yards from her balcony

Her toddler was outside watching the nearby firefighters when the incident happened.
Excitement about a firetruck parked outside the Dysons’ apartment quickly turned to fear when a shot was fired just yards from the balcony they were sitting on.
Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 5:51 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Excitement about a firetruck parked outside the Dysons’ apartment quickly turned to fear when a shot was fired just yards 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 went outside as the firetruck arrived. When they were given the all-clear, her daughter begged to watch the firefighters from the balcony.

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

Her daughter excitedly waved and talked to the firefighters for a few minutes. She even posed for a photo with the firetruck in the background.

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

Meanwhile, Dyson was getting messages about a developing incident happening in her building. She says neighbors told her a woman was walking around with a knife and that she should stay inside. Thinking they were safe on their second-floor balcony, Dyson ignored the suggestion.

Minutes later, she heard a shot fired just yards away.

“[I] just grabbed her and ran,” said Dyson. She could see the bullet hole caused by the incident from her balcony. “I could smell it, the smoke I guess... I was just so frazzled.”

Police had responded to a call about a suspicious person described as a woman carrying a knife. Officers say they found Stacy Rayburn, 37, with a butcher knife.

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

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

“That is standard protocol,” said David. “Just as people shouldn’t draw a negative inference from the fact when we have to involve outside agencies in a criminal investigation, they shouldn’t take anything away from the fact that officers have been placed on administrative leave. We do that to make sure that there’s 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 Wasilas the same night on several drug charges. He’s in jail under a $50,000 bond.

“[Wasilas] is always around, everywhere,” said Dyson, recalling how her daughter often pets his dog when they cross paths. “Very friendly, very outgoing, a people person. This was out of the ordinary. We wouldn’t expect that from him.”

As they sit on the same balcony today, Dyson holds her daughter a little closer and hopes to never feel the same fear she felt on Monday again.

“It’s scary that something in broad daylight could happen that close to you with your child at home,” said Dyson. “Kind of makes you think about you’re not really safe anywhere.”