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July 6, 2009

GAFFNEY, S.C. (AP) — A man suspected of killing five people and terrorizing a South Carolina community was shot to death Monday by police investigating a burglary complaint at a home 30 miles away.

Ballistics tests on a gun and bullets found with the man in Gastonia, N.C., match those used in a week long killing spree in and around Gaffney, said State Law Enforcement Deputy Director Neil Dolan.

“We have him. He’s our serial killer,” Dolan said Monday night.

Authorities did not release the man’s name, but said he has had several encounters with law enforcement over the years.

Dolan said the physical evidence leaves no doubt the slain suspect was the person who shot five people to death over six days. But investigators still have no idea why he started the killing spree June 27.

“He was unpredictable. He was scary. He was weird,” Dolan said.

The case came to an end in Gastonia early Monday after a couple called police to report a suspicious sport utility vehicle in their neighborhood.

Mike and Terri Valentine were on edge because the Gaffney serial killer was just a short drive away.

They watched two people who sometimes visit the neighboring home get out of the vehicle, followed by a third man who matched the description of the killer: tall, heavyset, unshaven and wearing a baseball cap. The man appeared to be very drunk, Mike Valentine said.

When officers went inside, Terri Valentine said she heard someone yell “put it down” and heard a gunshot.

Then “bam, bam, bam, bam. Next thing I know, all of Gaston County was here,” she said.

Gaston County police said the other two people were in custody, but did not indicate whether they were facing charges.

The Gaffney killings happened in a 10-mile area over six days. A peach farmer was killed June 27, an 83-year-old woman and her daughter were found bound and shot four days later, and the next day a father and his teen daughter were shot in their family’s furniture store.

SLED Chief Reggie Lloyd said the investigation isn’t over, and Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton said investigators will trace the suspect’s recent activities and trying to figure out if he has killed other people in other places.

Blanton said he hopes the arrest calms the fears of 54,000 people in the county 50 miles west of Charlotte, N.C., known for its peach orchards and mills.

“We feel the victims’ pain,” Blanton said. “This isn’t over. We‘re just changing gears.”

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Jul 6, 2009
    • Also...they are believing he may be connected to the shooting and death of a North Augusta man Thanksgiving week of 2005.
      That man was the father of a friend of mine.  He and another man had been eating breakfast at the Huddle House as they did for years...and was leaving when the suspect shot at them both killing Mr. Robert Powell.  I hope this might be the man so the mystery will be solved.  

      Gaffney is about 3 hours away from here...but you just didn’t kow what this nut was going to do.  We definitely have had our doors locked since this has happened.  I’ve been uneasy and I don’t even live in Gaffney.

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Jul 6, 2009
    • Wow, glad to hear this. Hopefully, some nut doesn’t try to copycat.

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Jul 7, 2009
    • Scott’s family lives in Gastonia, so we’ve been monitoring this for days. Very scary stuff. I’m glad they got him.

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Jul 7, 2009
    • FM...I‘M sure you all have been. It was very scary.  When we got home from the beach...our Ben had been sleeping in our bed..and had a rifle standing right next to the bed. 20 year old was even afraid.  We were thinking he may be responsible for the killing of a local man here in 2005 but it seems this nutcase was locked up at that time.  Just think if he had been left locked up...(5) people would still be alive today.  

      I’m glad they killed him.   I do not want to support him while he goes through the long drawn out judicial system and possibly get out and do it again.  I would have liked to know WHY he did it....but we’ll never know.

            Report  Reply

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