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'In lieu of flowers, kill a drug dealer': NC mom pens obituary after son's suicide

LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - It's every mother's worst nightmare. On Sunday, April 15, Shawn Winkler shot himself in the head in the garage of his Leland family home. He was 30 years old.

"Shawn started out as a very happy, loving boy, " said his mother Sarah Winkler in a document she sent to WECT news.

On the day Shawn killed himself, Sarah said he began acting erratically and trashing his room. Shawn, armed with a gun, told his mother he was going to Holly Ridge to kill his girlfriend and five others. Sarah said Sean believed everyone was in on a scheme to drive him crazy.

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Sarah called 911 and within minutes eight cops had her home surrounded.

"That's when I heard a pop sound. It sounded like those plastic poppers at New Year's. The next thing I know, officers were running around everywhere putting up crime scene tape," Winkler explained.

"I was told Sean shot himself in the head in the garage. He was still breathing when he got to the hospital. Once at the hospital, he tested positive for marijuana and meth," Winkler said.

With no insurance money, Sarah went the route of direct cremation. By doing that, an obituary isn't prepared for the deceased, so Winkler went on the internet to try to write one herself.

"I have always been an honest, open book...blunt type of person, I don't need to sugar coat anything," Winkler said.

Winkler discovered most obituaries stated that in the event of suicide it's customary to say "passed away suddenly" or "passed away unexpectedly."

"I thought to myself what a strange society we live in with all the technology we have so readily available and yet where death, regardless of the reason, still seems to be a taboo subject," Winkler stated.

So Sarah decided to tell the truth. The obituary reads:

Shawn Andrew Winkler, 30, took his own life after a lengthy battle with his demons, depression and drug addiction on Sunday, April 15, 2018.

Shawn was a troubled soul who lacked a good male role model. The rest of his family though, loved him very much and tried to reassure him of this every day. Unfortunately, meth and the voices that appear to accompany meth use told Shawn otherwise."

In lieu of flowers, and if you want to remember Shawn, please do so by not doing drugs, love your children and kill a drug dealer — OK, maybe not that last one — but you can certainly report any drug dealings you become aware of to your local law enforcement, even if you suspect it’s your own child."

Copyright 2018 WECT. All rights reserved.

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