Police say suspect in South Carolina serial killings is dead

Other News Materials 7 July 2009 05:16 (UTC +04:00)

Investigators believe the serial killer blamed for five deaths in South Carolina died in a shootout with police in neighboring North Carolina on Monday, a South Carolina state police official said, according to CNN.

Tests on the gun found on the man killed in North Carolina match the weapon used in the killings that have haunted Gaffney, South Carolina, since June 27, said Reggie Lloyd, director of South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division. The dead suspect and his vehicle also appear to match descriptions circulated by investigators in Gaffney, he said.

"We believe a killer is off the streets," Lloyd said.

The identity of the suspect had not been released Monday evening. The man was killed early Monday morning in Dallas, North Carolina, after police received a call about a possible burglary in progress, officers there said.

When police arrived at the home, they found inside two people who lived there and a third who "was an acquaintance," police said. Video Watch Lloyd say why police think they've got their man "

"A second check on the suspect individual uncovered an outstanding warrant" from nearby Lincoln County, police said. "Officers attempted to serve the outstanding warrant when the suspect pulled a gun and fired at officers. Officers returned fire, killing the suspect."

One officer was shot in the leg and was treated and released from a hospital, police said.

About 100 investigators from North and South Carolina were working the case, said Bill Blanton, the sheriff of Cherokee County, South Carolina, which includes Gaffney. Leaves for all members of the Gaffney police department and the sheriff's department were canceled, their respective chiefs have said.

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, and Blanton said the 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 Linder's home, where she lived alone. Blanton said authorities are still trying to determine if anything was taken from that home.

The killer's last 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. See a map of where the bodies were found "

Blanton said investigators had evidence the killings were linked, but did not know a motive.

"I knew all the victims and it's possible that all the victims knew each other," he told CNN's "American Morning." "But we don't have any information right now that links the killer to [them]."