Local News

Police: Suspect in Wayne Community College shooting had 'calculated plan'

Posted April 14, 2015 5:58 a.m. EDT
Updated April 14, 2015 12:54 p.m. EDT

— A 20-year-old man wanted in the Monday shooting death of Wayne Community College employee Ron Lane was captured early Tuesday on a beach in Florida, according to the Goldsboro Police Department.

Kenneth Morgan Stancil III was arrested at about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday in Daytona Beach after deputies from the Volusia County Beach Patrol found him sleeping on the beach, which is illegal. Stancil was carrying a knife at the time of his arrest, but he was taken into custody without incident, Goldsboro police said.

He is charged with an open count of murder in the slaying of Lane, 44, a longtime college employee who ran the school's print shop. Investigators have not discussed a motive in the shooting and are looking into the possibility that it was a hate crime. They would not elaborate but confirmed to WRAL News that Lane's sexual orientation and Stancil's possible affiliation with white supremacist groups or gangs are being examined.

"I can say with confidence that Mr. Stancil had a calculated plan, and he carried out that plan," Goldsboro police Sgt. Jeremy Sutton said during a Tuesday morning news conference.

Investigators said Stancil carried a 12-gage pump shotgun into the Wayne Learning Center shortly before 8 a.m. Monday, went to the third-floor print shop and fired a single shot, killing Lane. He fled campus on a motorcycle, which a state trooper found abandoned in the median of Interstate 95 South in Lumberton later that morning.

"When we found the motorcycle on I-95 South, we automatically knew we were headed south," Sutton said.

It's unclear how Stancil traveled from Lumberton to Florida. Authorities said help from the media, the public and numerous law enforcement agencies led to his capture.

Stancil was being held without bond in the Volusia County Jail early Tuesday and is expected to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Authorities in Wayne County are working to have him extradited back to North Carolina.

Sutton said the gun used in the slaying has not been recovered. He also said investigators are examining evidence seized from Stancil's home on Old Mount Olive Highway in Wayne County.

College officials said Stancil was a previous work-study student who reported to Lane. He was dismissed from the federally funded program at the beginning of March because of too many absences, college president Kay Albertson said.

College officials and investigators said they do not know of a connection between Lane and Stancil beyond their relationship as student and employee.

Classes at the college resumed Tuesday, and extra security was on campus to make sure students felt safe. Counseling was also available.

Before classes, staff members and Albertson gathered at the center of campus, where a memorial for Lane was created. Albertson said Lane had a sweet soul.

The calm was in contrast to a day earlier, when the shooting prompted a lockdown as officers conducted a room-by-room search for the gunman. One building was cleared by tear gas when they mistakenly thought they had the gunman isolated.

"We are relieved at the apprehension of Mr. Stancil. The college is operating today. It's a day of healing," college spokeswoman Tara Humphries said. "We will be paying personal tributes to Ron Lane today, and later in the week we will plan a celebration of his life."