LUMBERTON, N.C. (WNCN) – Robeson County sheriff’s deputies continue to review video and interview travelers that were on Interstate-95 in Lumberton at the time of a road rage incident that killed a mother last Thursday.
Julie and Ryan Eberly were headed from Pennsylvania to South Carolina to celebrate their seventh anniversary.
Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said the Eberly’s vehicle came close to the suspect’s vehicle during a merge near Exit 22.
The suspect then drove up to the passenger side where Julie was, rolled down his window and fired several times into the Eberly’s vehicle, the sheriff’s office said.
Witnesses said the suspect sped off, got off the interstate on Exit 22, and crossed over the bridge coming into Lumberton.
Ryan Eberly was driving and was not injured, but Julie Eberly died from her injuries.
Monday night, the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office said it identified the suspect’s vehicle from surveillance footage. It is a silver four-door Chevrolet Malibu. Deputies believe it was manufactured between 2008 and 2013. It has tinted windows and chrome trim around the window frame.
Deputies are still seeking additional surveillance footage. Anyone who has a business or residence in the area of Elm Street and Roberts Avenue is asked to review their surveillance system for the vehicle. They’re looking for footage from between 11:40 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on March 25.
The Eberly family said she loved being a mom and a new grandmother.
She loved adventures, praying for others, and helping them any way she could.
A statement from Ryan Eberly says in part:
“Julie made it her mission to open their home to friends, family, and neighbors. It was her joy to have these people around her and bless them with her hospitality.”
The Julie Michelle Eberly Memorial Foundation has raised more than $48,000 on GoFundMe.
The organizer said the money will be used to donate to charities in Julie’s honor.
An anonymous person who lives in Robeson County donated $10,000 for a reward for information that leads to the shooter’s arrest.
Ryan Eberly’s full statement:
Julie Eberly’s life was tragically cut short when a person chose to shoot into the vehicle while traveling with her husband, Ryan Eberly, along I95 just outside Lumberton, NC. There is so much more to Julie than the moment of her tragic passing.
Ryan and Julie were on their way to Hilton Head to celebrate their 7th Anniversary which was on March 23rd. They were meeting with Julie’s closest friend and her husband to celebrate their mutual Anniversaries.
We want to tell Julie’s story in the hope that someone, somewhere will come forward, who knows the individual who took the cowardly action of firing a gun from a moving car into another vehicle. Finding this person won’t bring Julie back, but it will provide justice for Julie and prevent this from happening to anyone else. It will also provide comfort and a bit of closure for Julie’s family.
Julie and Ryan blended their families seven years ago and have built a loving home together. Julie made it her mission to open their home to friends, family, and neighbors. It was her joy to have these people around her and bless them with her hospitality. As Ryan and Julie’s children grew and matured, they were looking forward to the next stages of their lives together including enjoying being first-time grandparents. Julie truly had a mother’s heart and delighted in being an integral part of each of the childrens’ lives.
On her adventurous side, Julie loved to go snowmobiling whenever there was snow and she was also ready for any type of adventure. Summer weekends were spent with friends and family poolside at home and at their family’s camp in upstate Pennsylvania.
Julie’s roots of faith grew deep. She was involved in several prayer ministries and deeply passionate in helping people find healing. Everyone who knew her enjoyed her joy for life and positive spirit. Her distinct laugh still echoes in the hearts of everyone she touched. Even in the midst of this horrific tragedy, we are seeing the hand of God through the care and concern of many individuals.
A special thank you goes out to Robeson County Chief Deputy Howard Branch and Robeson County Sheriff Burris Wilkins as well as the entire Lumberton community for going above and beyond in taking care of both Julie and Ryan through the worst day possible.
Thank you also to the Lancaster/Manheim community for their continued prayers and support. It is in these loving gestures that the family will be able to heal.
A gofundme page has been created, the Julie Michelle Eberly Memorial Foundation, at the urging of the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office because of the hundreds of emails from residents wanting to know how to help. The money will be used to make donations to charities in Julie’s honor.