Local News

Son Of Retired Raleigh Officer Shoots Father, Self

Posted October 6, 2004

— Officials are investigating the shooting deaths of a retired Raleigh police officer and his son.

The shootings happened Tuesday night at Vincent Kerr Sr.'s home on Amity Drive in Knightdale.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office said Kerr's 15-year-old son, Vincent Kerr Jr., shot the 40-year-old former police officer during an argument. Vincent Kerr Jr. then turned the gun on himself. He was taken to WakeMed, where he died Wednesday morning.

Investigators will not say what caused the shooting. Many people were surprised to hear the news.

"I read it in my paper this morning. It blew me away. I couldn't believe Vince died," said Raleigh police Officer Mark Sanker said. "He was very level-headed and a good guy to be around."

Kerr Sr. became well-known in 1991 after he shot and killed a man during a Raleigh SWAT team raid of a suspected drug house. Kerr thought the man was armed, but he was not. Kerr was cleared of wrongdoing, but he faced community backlash.

"I'm sure that it had a big impact on him and his family through that deal. He seemed to have gotten through it OK. The department was very supportive behind him," Sanker said.

Ben Rogers, Kerr's boss at Habitat for Humanity, wrote a poem with co-workers to describe their friend.

"Vince, bald and bold, honest and strong, sensitive and humorous," he said.

Rogers also knew Kerr's son who volunteered at Habitat.

"Smart, excellent athlete, hard worker -- he had his dad's humor," he said.

Kerr Jr. or J.R. as his friends knew him, was a student at Enloe High School in Raleigh.

"His second period class was right near mine. Every day, if I was having a bad day, I would see him and he would give me a hug. I just can't believe this," said Ashton Wade, Kerr's friend.

Enloe High School had grief counselors on hand to help students cope with the loss of their friend. The Habitat for Humanity office where Kerr Sr. worked closed Wednesday in order for its employees to take part in counseling.

Kerr was a 10-year-veteran of the Raleigh Police Department. He retired in 1995 due to a knee injury.

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