Local News

5 Shot, 1 Fatally, in Lee County

Posted July 10, 1999

— Law officers in Lee County say an argument over money led to five men being shot, one of them fatally.

The dead man is identified as Terry Wayne Matthews. Officers say Matthews shot his next-door neighbor and the neighbor's brother, after an argument over money.

Two sheriff's deputies answered the call about the shooting, and as they left their car they, too, were shot.

Within minutes Matthews' Tramway Road house was surrounded by deputies, state troopers and police officers, about 20 in all.

Investigators said Matthews went to a camper behind his house, where he switched his shotgun for a pistol and shot himself in the head.

The deputies were identified as Sgt. Clint Edwards and Dep. Anthony Rosser. They are both out of the hospital. Authorities identified the neighbors as Tommy and Jimmy Sessoms. They were admitted to Central Carolina Hospital.

Matthews had been taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he died at 10:45 p.m. Sunday.

"I walked out the front yard and saw the police start running across [the yard]," said neighbor Wayne Keeler. "Then all of a sudden, I heard about 10 or 12 shots."

"They were each shot with bird shot," says Sheriff Billy Bryant. "They were taken to the hospital and are not in life-threatening danger."

"There was a deputy sheriff on the ground," Keeler said. "He was down on the ground, ready to shoot. Then there was one (nearby) and one over behind the telephone pole ready to shoot."

Investigators say that Matthews was the only one to fire a gun, and that neither of the two neighbors had a weapon. The deputies had weapons but they did not get a shot off.

Since they did not fire their weapons, the Lee County Sheriff's Department is handling the case as an internal investigation.

"We just can't believe it," says Stephanie Spivey, who is still trying to understand why her two uncles were shot Sunday by a next door neighbor they had known for years.

Spivey says Matthews was "not in his right mind," and that her uncles did not take him seriously when he threatened them a few weeks ago.

"He wasn't in a correct state of mind that they could tell, but they didn't want to do anything about it," she said. "They didn't really think anything of it. They didn't think he would do something like this."

Neighbor Emma Thomas said Matthews mowed her lawn every two weeks and was "as nice as he could be." Officers said no problems had been reported until the shooting erupted Sunday.

As investigators try to figure out what made Matthews snap, his victims' families are praying for their recovery.

"I hope my uncles are OK," Spivey said. "I thank God that they are doing OK right now, that they are stable. I just hope things get back to normal."

The two Sessoms brothers are still in the hospital as of Tuesday night. Tommy is in stable condition, and Jimmy is in serious condition, but both are expected to live.


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