Community shocked, heartbroken after 7 die in Chatham County murder-suicide

Local News

MONCURE, N.C. (WNCN) – A Chatham County community is shocked and heartbroken after news broke of a murder-suicide that left seven people dead.

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office said deputies first responded to a shots fired call off of Moncure Flatwood Road shortly after 5:30 p.m. Sunday. A family member said his uncle shot and killed his wife. The suspected shooter then walked over to another home, killed a family member and other relatives who were visiting, then gunned down two other family members before turning the gun on himself.

The suspected shooter was identified Monday afternoon as 66-year-old Larry Don Ray, of 849 Moncure Flatwoods Road, the sheriff’s office said.

Ellis and Lisa Mansfield visited Helen Mason, 93, every Sunday evening. A family member said that’s what they were doing at the time of the shooting. All three were killed.

Also killed were Nicole Sanderford, 39, and her husband John Paul Sanderford, 41.

Nicole Sanderford’s brother describes her as “the greatest person,” adding that the couple leaves behind two teenage sons.

The sheriff’s office identified Jeanie Ray, 67, and Larry Ray as deceased in the shooting.

“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy,” said Sheriff Mike Roberson. “To lose any family member is devastating, but to lose several at once to unexpected violence is unimaginable. There are no words to describe the sense of loss we feel as a community in the wake of this terrible event.”

The sheriff’s office said it wants to support the survivors’ family members. They are encouraged to reach out to the N.C. Victim Assistance Network, Triangle Survivors of Suicide, or the sheriff’s office’s Victim Services Unit.

“In Chatham County, when one of us hurts, we all hurt, and we pull together,” Roberson said in a statement. “We can’t undo what has happened, but we can surround this family and each other with love and support as we decide where to go from here.”

The sheriff’s office said a care fund has been set up for the surviving teenage boys who lost their parents in the shooting. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo bank nationwide to “Flatwood Boys Stay Strong.”

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office said the shooting extended to more than one residence. The event is not believed to be random but the motive is unknown at this time.

Investigators with the sheriff’s office and North Carolina SBI worked through the night to process the scene and piece together more details.

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