4 dead, 3 children injured in North Carolina shooting

ASHEVILLE, N. C. – A man shot his girlfriend and her five children in their North Carolina home— killing of woman and two teenagers — before shooting himself, police said Thursday.

Asheville police chief Tammy Hooper said the shooting happened Wednesday night after Maurice Laron Garner, 35, was arguing with his girlfriend on the Asheville hospital where she worked.

Officers found 32-year-old Erica Nichelle Smith was killed and her 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter fatally injured. The others survived: A 10-year-old boy who was grazed by a bullet 911 around 10:30 to say that Garner had killed his mother. A 12-year-old child is in stable condition with a leg wound, while an 8-year-old was treated for a graze wound. Their genders were not immediately released.

The chief said Garner’s body was found in a car nearby with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He seems not to have been the father of one of the children.

The surviving brothers and sisters are being cared for by local advocacy agencies, ” she said.

“A death in our community, in particular one relating to violence on this scale has far-reaching traumatic effects, particularly when they relate to the children,” the chief said.

Asheville police had not received any prior domestic violence calls to the house, Hooper said, but Smith’s approach of the police about Garner this month. On April 5, Smith reported that Garner had a car, but the police determined that there was no crime, because the vehicle was registered to him.

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