State News

Questions surround murder of 86-year-old Army veteran

Posted January 19

— Police say the death of a man found in his apartment in Fayetteville was a homicide.

Family members found the body of 86-year-old Gerald Gillespie shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday. Relatives and friends said Thursday that when they had not heard from him, they became worried.

"He got up. He had a routine. He looked at the newspaper," said Todd Joyce, with the Fayetteville Police Department.

Ted Ruffin, the general manager of a K&W Cafeteria, said Gillespie was a regular customer.

"He'd come in five or six times a week," he said. "He had a group that he'd sit with in the dining room...close to the coffee and tea area."

Ruffin said Gillespie was friendly, but was not afraid to speak his mind.

"He always loved those fried green tomatoes. He always said they had too much grease in them," Ruffin said.

Now, investigators, family and friends are trying to find out why anyone would want to kill him.

"The man was killed. Left there, he lived alone by himself and his family shouldn't have to make this type of discovery," Joyce said.

According to officials with Fort Bragg, Gillespie was a decorated Army veteran. He served 22 years.

The statement did not say how Gillespie died. His body is being sent to the chief medical examiner for an autopsy.

No arrests have been made.

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