Investgators say the weapon found on a man killed in a shootout with police in Gastonia, North Carolina matches the gun used in five serial killings in Cherokee County. SLED Chief Reggie Lloyd says he believes the killer is finally off the streets. He stated that the ballistic tests connect the gun found on the Gaston County suspect to the murders in Gaffney, just over 30 miles away. The suspect was identified Monday night as Patrick Tracy Burris.
Lloyd says Burris has an extensive record. “At this point we’re working backwards to collect evidence and nail this case down. We’re also confirming his criminal record, not just in the Carolinas, but we believe he has an extensive record in many states.”
Lloyd says that South Carolina law enforcement got involved as soon as they heard about the incident, because a description of the suspect and his vehicle fit. “We sent agents up there, they began working with North Carolina agents, and sent evidence back immediately for processing.”
Early Monday police received a call about a possible burglary in progress. Reports indicate that when they entered the residence, they found two people who lived there and a third who was an acquaintance. A check on the suspect individual uncovered an outstanding warrant from nearby Lincoln County. Officers attempted to serve the warrant when the suspect pulled a gun and fired. Authorities say officers returned fire killing the suspect. One officer was shot in the leg and was treated and released.
Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton says Burris committed crimes in many states and was wanted on warrants. Blanton listed some of Burris? criminal history which includes 2 counts of armed robbery, multiple traffic violations, a weapons violation and possession of stolen goods.
Approximately 100 law enforcement officers from South and North Carolina have been working on the case.
The killer’s latest victim was 15-year-old Abby Tyler, who was shot last week and died Saturday. Her father, Stephen Tyler, 48, had been pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting, in their family-run furniture and appliance store.
In an interview Monday on CNN’s “American Morning,” Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton said investigators have determined “through evidence” that the five killings are linked. Authorities are not giving details about the evidence. The first shooting occurred June 27, when peach farmer Kline W. Cash, 63, was killed. His wife found him dead in their home, the sheriff’s office said. Blanton said Cash’s home may have been robbed. Four days later, the bound and shot bodies of Hazel Linder, 83, and her 50-year-old daughter, Gena Linder Parker, were found in the Linders’ home.