I remember the calls coming across the scanner: apparently someone had a gun at the mall.
In the wake of Sandy Hook and the Colorado movie theater shooting, we knew this was critical to report on to inform our readers. And it wasn't long before national media picked up the story.
Our night crime reporter took off to report from the scene - and we found out the person in question was a soldier at Fort Bragg. Our night crime reporter handled the first story.
I was on the breaking news shift the following day and was tasked with following up on the story. The first thing I did was go to the magistrate's office to read the charges. That's where I found a handwritten statement written by Bryan Wolfinger, the soldier charged. Wolfinger declined to talk to any media, but his written statement spoke for him. It was public and no one else had it. His statement was filled with incredible details that no one else had (like, that he used the gun as a prop for a photo shoot).
On top of that, Wolfinger put his cell phone number on the police documents, so I was able to call him. He didn't want to talk to me, but promised I would be his first interview after the case is settled.
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/soldier-in-cross-creek-mall-lockdown-wanted-photos-for-a/article_31eb0091-5c2d-547c-b5a6-d1ddc86843f8.html
Behind the byline
Here's an inside look at how some of my favorite stories came together.