A North Carolina man is dead, along with several members of his family and their friends, who he allegedly executed before dying by suicide, police said.
Larry Don Ray, 66, allegedly gunned down his wife and others — including his 93-year-old mother-in-law — in the murder-suicide at three different homes in Moncure, North Carolina, a small community about 30 miles southwest of Raleigh on Sunday.
Police responded to a “shots fired” call around 5:30 p.m. on March 15, according to a Chatham County Sheriff’s Office news release.
Ray’s wife, Jeanie Ray, 67, the man’s 93-year-old mother-in-law Helen Mason, her guests, including Lisa Mansfield, 54, and her husband, Ellis Mansfield, 73, as well as John Paul Sanderford, 41, and Nicole Sanderford, 39, were killed in the massacre, WRAL-TV reported.
Family said that Ray initially shot his wife, Jeanie, then killed his elderly mother-in-law and her friends at the woman’s household. He later stormed the Sanderfords’ home and fatally shot the middle-aged couple. All the homes were located off Moncure Flatwood Road in the small town, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
The Sanderfords’ 16-year-old son reportedly phoned 911 while hiding in the closet as bullets began to fly, the outlet reported. The family's other 13-year-old son wasn’t home at the time of the shooting.
“There’s a guy in my house shooting right now,” the teen told emergency dispatchers, according to a recording of the call released to local media on Monday, according to the News & Observer.
“I’m in my closet. I haven’t seen him,” he added. “I’m not coming out.”
After a few moments, Ray apparently fled the scene, allowing the 16-year-old to emerge from his hiding space. The frightened young caller then frantically told dispatchers he heard six shots ring out.
“Oh my god,” he said upon inspecting the scene outside the closet. “Blood everywhere.”
It’s unknown what caused Ray to embark on the armed rampage. A motive has not been released by law enforcement in connection with the shooting. However, authorities said the shooting didn’t appear to be “random.”
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy,” Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson said in a statement. “To lose any family member is devastating, but to lose several at once to unexpected violence is unimaginable. There are no words to describe the sense of loss we feel as a community in the wake of this terrible event.”
Authorities, who called the murder-suicide “disturbing,” said the family slayings has rocked the “quiet, close-knit,” North Carolina farming community.
“When one of us hurts, we all hurt, and we pull together,” the county sheriff added. “We can’t undo what has happened, but we can surround this family and each other with love and support as we decide where to go from here.”
Authorities said a fundraiser to support the 13 and 16-year-old teenagers, whose parents were gunned down in the attack, is being created.
“They was good folks,” Ken Dickens, an RV park owner, said of Ray’s slain 93-year-old mother-in-law and her family.
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