(Note: This post is being updated below.)
Someone is killing people in Cherokee County, South Carolina.
Four persons shot to death in six days, and this morning, according to WSPA-TV, law enforcement officials are saying the crimes are linked to the same gunman.
Cherokee County is located off I-85 as it crosses Upstate South Carolina between Anderson and Charlotte, North Carolina. The county’s residents, in TV interviews and Facebook and blog comments, are taking a “shoot first, ask questions later” attitude.
Around 7:30 last night, two persons were shot at Tyler’s Home Center in Gaffney. Owner Stephen Tyler, 48, was killed, and his 15-year-old daughter is being treated at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center for a gunshot wound to the head. Tyler's wife and two older daughters found the victims.
On Wednesday afternoon, Gena Parker, 50, of Anderson, and her mother, retired teacher Hazel Linder, 83, were found shot to death in Linder’s Cherokee County home. Parker, the mother of two teenaged sons, was a third-grade teacher at Calhoun Academy of Arts, a public school in Anderson’s School District 5. (The school is located just a few blocks from my home.) Parker’s husband Scott discovered the victims. He is a coach and school administrator and formerly coached at T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson.
My friends Teresa Smith and Charlie Boseman accompanied Parker’s class on a field trip when Charlie’s granddaughter was in her third-grade class, and Teresa says the community is shocked over the murder of this “very sweet person and great teacher.”
On Saturday, prominent Gaffney peach farmer Kline Cash, 63, was found gunned down outside his home. A man wanting to buy hay had come to Cash’s home earlier in the day.
Police consider this man a suspect and have released his description and a sketch as well as descriptions of vehicles seen near the murder scenes.
This information as well as other details of the killings, safety tips and local reaction can be found at WSPA-TV anchor Amy Wood’s blog: LINK
Interesting fact: The Cherokee County sheriff held a press conference at noon today to get out the information gathered on the suspect. A reporter asked if the county had ever gone through anything like this before. "Yes," the sheriff said, "Leroy Martin, The Gaffney Strangler, in the 1960s." Interesting article on Martin: LINK
Update: "Serial killer sought in South Carolina," CNN, 4 July 2009: LINK
Update: "Serial killer claims fifth victim in South Carolina," CNN, 4 July 2009: LINK