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UPDATE: Man killed former girlfriend and himself

Whitehurst Lane
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Pitt County Sheriff's Office deputies are investigating a possible murder-suicide off of Whitehurst Lane near Whitehurst & Sons Fence Co., above, near the Beaufort County line.

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The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A man shot and killed his former girlfriend as she was driving from her family’s gated compound east of Greenville Monday night then killed himself, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Laura Caitlyn Whitehurst, 25, was attempting to leave the property on Whitehurst Lane when Christopher Levon Garris, 26, fired on her vehicle with a shotgun about 9:50 p.m., Sheriff Paula Dance said on Tuesday.

Dance said Garris fired the weapon four times on her as the gate was opening. Garris had been “lying in wait” for Whitehurst, Dance said, and turned the shotgun on himself after killing her.

“These two people were in a relationship and had since separated,” Dance said in a news conference at her office Tuesday afternoon. “There has been no other calls for service for domestic situations with them.”

A relative called the sheriff’s office to report the shooting shortly before 9:53 p.m. Dance did not identify the relative.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of U.S. 264 near the Beaufort County line.

Whitehurst Lane is a gated road that leads to several private residences, including a large home in front of a pond. The compound is situated behind Whitehurst & Sons Fence Co. No one at the business would comment on Tuesday.

Several people were having lunch at Poorman’s Flea Market next door on Tuesday. A man in the parking lot said he had heard about the shooting but did not know much about it.

It’s unclear if Whitehurst lived at the compound or was visiting there. Dance said both Whitehurst and Garris lived in Pitt County but she did not have addresses for either.

Upon arriving, deputies discovered the two with gunshot trauma. Medical staff determined both to be deceased, Dance said.

Information about the two was limited.

During the news conference, Dance confirmed that Garris had previously applied to work with The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office when former Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks was in charge but that his application did not move forward.

In the wake of the shooting, she offered deep condolences to the Whitehurst family.

She also encouraged anyone who is in an uncomfortable or threatening domestic situation to report it to authorities. “Please tell someone, reach out to your local law enforcement, reach out to the local women’s shelter or the services we have in the county,” Dance said.

“Have that conversation and make plans when you are separating from a relationship. As we all know and as history has shown us, when you leave, it’s the most dangerous time as it relates to domestics that rise to this level,” she said.

Contact Tyler Stocks at tstocks@reflector.com and 329-9566.

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The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a possible murder-suicide that took place Monday night near the Beaufort County line.

Deputies were dispatched about 9:50 p.m. to the area of Whitehurst Lane off of U.S. 264 to a report of shots fired, according to a news release issued by the sheriff’s office on Tuesday.

Arriving units discovered two individuals with what appeared to be gunshot trauma, the release said. Medical staff determined both to be deceased.

The incident is being investigated as a possible case of murder-suicide, the release said. However, a final determination has not been made.

The release did not identify who was shot or whether they were male or female. It also did not list an address for the incident nor state in what type of premises the shooting occurred. 

Whitehurst Lane is a gated road that leads to three private residences, including a large home in front of a pond. The compound is situated behind Whitehurst & Sons Fence Co. No one at the business would comment on Tuesday.

Several people were having lunch at Poorman’s Flea Market next door on Tuesday. A man in the parking lot said he had heard about the shooting but did not know much about it.

The sheriff’s news release stated that no further information is available at this time and that more information will be released as soon as possible.

The Daily Reflector requested a recording of emergency calls from the Pitt County 911 center, but Emergency Management Director Jimmy Hodges referred the request to the sheriff’s office out of concern that releasing them would interfere with the investigation. 

Sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Lee Darnell said he would look into getting the calls released from the sheriff’s office.

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