Local News

Authorities Say They Have Suspects In Shooting That Paralyzed Teacher

Posted October 18, 2005

— One week after a drive-by shooting in Harnett County left a teacher paralyzed, investigators said they have several suspects, though no suspects have been arrested.

The Harnett County Sheriff's Office said Cynthia Patterson, 51, was in her house at

2776 McLean Chapel Church Road

, in Bunnlevel, when several shots were fired into her residence at 11:49 p.m. last Tuesday.

One of the bullets struck Patterson in her spine and paralyzed her from the chest down, deputies said.

On Tuesday, deputies said they believe the person who fired into the house was not aiming at Patterson, a teacher at South Harnett Elementary School.

That confirms what her family suspected all along.

Patterson's relatives said they think someone had a score to settle with her son.

"Her son had a beef with some guys that Saturday or something, so that's what we were thinking," relative Keith Lee said.

But investigators said they could not say for certain that Patterson's son was the target.

Both Patterson's husband and son live with her, and either one could have been targets, Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins said.

He added that investigators would not rule out any possible motives for the shooting.

"Gangs, drugs, vendettas," Rollins said. "There are all sorts of reasons that things like this happen. Senseless all of them, but they happen."


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