The town of Gaffney, South Carolina may be able to sleep more peacefully as investigators have indicated that the serial killer may have died.
This belief stems from a shootout that took place in North Carolina on Monday with police, according to a South Carolina state police official. Officers had been investigating a burglary complaint at a home in Gastonia which is 30 miles from where the murders initially began.
Mike and Terri Valentine were the couple that phoned in police when they were suspicious of a SUV that was in their neighborhood where people were already on edge from the events in Gaffney. Three people stepped out of the vehicle to enter a home and they believed that one matched the description of the serial killer.
When police arrived to the scene they were met by three people, two being the owners of the home that were accompanying the killer. In checking the background on the acquaintance, they found an outstanding warrant from a violated probation in Lincoln County, North Carolina.
When an attempt was made to serve the warrant, the suspect opened fire and the shootout ensued. Police say that only one officer was harmed from a shot to the leg, but has been released from a hospital since.
Being blamed for five deaths in the state, the weapon that was found on the suspect, through testing, was able to match the bullets of the gun that had been used in the killings that stretched all the way back to June 27, stated Reggie Lloyd, director of South Carolina’s State Law Enforcement Division.
The gun was found on 41-year-old Patrick Tracy Burris. Records were not able to provide any evidence of an address for Burris and his motive is still unknown. The weapon along with the vehicle made officers suspect him to be the man they have been hunting.
Burris’ prior extensive crime sheet included larceny, forgery and breaking and entering that spanned from states across the Southeast. Notable states included Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Florida. In April, Burris was paroled from a prison in North Carolina after spending close to an eight year incarceration. His rap sheet was close to 25 pages.
The hunt, however, is still not over as Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton stated that investigators are now trying to trace back the killer’s steps and see if his recent activities included killing other people in other areas.