The Transylvania Times -

Three Charged In Connection With Teen's Death - Brevard, NC


July 24, 2017

Derek McKissock

The body of 18-year-old Saul Ayala was found on the street in front of this house on Washington Avenue in the early hours of Thursday.

The victim in the deadly stabbing incident Thursday morning in Brevard was identified as 18-year-old Saul N. Ayala, while a third person has been charged with first-degree murder in the case.

The Brevard Police Department (BPD) released the victim's name Friday after notifying his family.

Ayala, who attended Brevard middle and high schools, had been living with his family in Florida but was back in town recently staying with friends, according to Brevard Deputy Police Chief Shawn Miller.

As previously reported online last week, two Brevard residents were initially charged with first-degree murder after the fatal stabbing on Washington Avenue, which is located off Silversteen Drive.

Chadley Tyrone Norris, 34, who gave a Carolina Avenue address, was arrested on first-degree murder and two other charges - failure to appear on a misdemeanor and a parole violation. Carolina Avenue runs parallel to Washington Avenue. Norris was issued no bond for the murder charge. He was admitted to the Transylvania County Detention Center at roughly 4:35 p.m., Thursday.

Connell Dixon Hawkins, 28, who gave a West French Broad Street address, was also charged with first-degree murder and was admitted to the Transylvania County Detention Center at about 6:20 p.m., Thursday. Hawkins was issued no bond.

Late Thursday, James Alexander Ray, 20, of Wilmington, N.C., was also arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Ray was also charged with failure to appear on a misdemeanor charge in connection with a case in New Hanover, N.C.

Ray was admitted to the detention center just before 10 p.m. and was issued no bond in connection with the murder charge.

At about 2:45 a.m., Thursday, a 911 caller to the Brevard Police Department said a fight was taking place out on the street on Washington Avenue.

Officers and other emergency services officials arrived within a couple of minutes and found Ayala in the street. Attempts to revive Ayala, however, were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead.

In a press release, Police Chief Phil Harris said it's believed the three suspects were at the murder scene. Harris said, however, it was unclear, as of Friday afternoon, what roles each of the suspects' played.

"It is also believed additional people were involved in the planning and, perhaps, parts of (the) participation, but more investigation is necessary to determine the validity of the information police received," Harris said.

Miller said the BPD was "pleased by the support through the community" that helped lead to the arrests.

He said shortly after clearing the Washington Avenue crime scene Thursday the BPD began receiving numerous tips in the case.

These tips led to a search warrant being issued around 3:40 p.m., Thursday, at a home on West French Broad Street by the Transylvania County Special Response Team.

Some of the five people in the West French Broad Street home, it was later found out, had outstanding warrants for other alleged crimes not connected with the death.

Hawkins, Norris and Ray were also among those at the West French Broad Street home.

Miller said the BPD cannot release a motive for the stabbing at this time.

The suspects and Ayala knew one another, Miller said.

It wasn't a "random killing," he said. He asked the public to stay vigilant and to contact the police if they have concerns, noting that "retaliation" was a possibility.

More than two dozen law enforcement officers, including from BPD, the Transylvania County Sheriff's Office, the State Bureau of Investigation and the Special Response Team, have been involved in the investigation.

Transylvania County Rescue Squad, EMS and Brevard Fire Department also assisted in the early morning response at Washington Avenue.

Derek McKissock

Law enforcement served a warrant at this home on West French Broad Street Thursday afternoon.

The warrant search Thursday by the Special Response Team on West French Broad was called a "high-risk entry" and two stun grenades were used.

Miller said that anytime law enforcement is dealing with an individual or individuals who may have committed a violent crime with a knife that extra caution is used.

There were also pit bulls at the West French Broad location and one was believed to be aggressive, Miller said.

Instead of having to kill the dog, he said, the stun grenades were used outside the home to distract the animal, which was on the porch.

On Friday, BPD officers attended Ayala's autopsy. The results are pending the medical examiner's report.

Anyone with additional information is encouraged to call the anonymous hotline at (828) 862-7463.


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