WILMINGTON, N.C., (Reuters) – A gunman opened fire inside a nursing home in a small North Carolina town yesterday, killing eight people, including elderly patients in wheelchairs, local authorities said.
A 45-year-old local man was arrested and faced eight counts of first-degree murder after the shooting at the retirement care home in Carthage, about 60 miles (100 km) southwest of Raleigh.
“There are eight dead,” Moore County District Attorney Maureen Krueger told a news conference. Neither she nor other officials were able to immediately offer a motive for the killings in what was the third major shooting incident in the southeastern United States this month.
Those killed at the Pinelake Health and Rehab Center in Carthage, which offered care for the elderly and Alzheimer’s sufferers, included seven patients in their 70s, 80s and 90s, and one 39-year-old staff member, officials said.
“The shooter entered the facility heavily armed and began shooting at people in wheelchairs,” WRAL News quoted North Carolina state Senator Harris Blake as saying.
Carthage Police Chief Chris McKenzie told the news conference that the gunman shot 11 people in all. The wounded included a police officer and the arrested suspect, whom McKenzie and Krueger named as Robert Stewart.
Six of the victims died at the scene and two died of their injuries in the hospital.