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Friends, Classmates Stunned To Hear About Orange County Triple Murder-Suicide

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MEBANE, N.C. — Investigators in Orange County are still trying to sort out the details of a triple murder-suicide.

Authorities say Roderick Farb shot his wife Erin Elizabeth Farb, her 9-year-old daughter Ashley Thomas and David Edwards Cooley, 49, who was staying at Erin Farb's Mebane home Monday morning before turning the gun on himself.

Authorities said Cooley, a longtime friend of Erin Farb, moved to Hillsborough earlier this month and worked at a Chapel Hill car dealership.

Monday's events still have many residents in the community stunned. Matt Stewart, a friend of the family, left flowers at the home to pay his respects.

"I just had a bad feeling about him. No one is prepared for something like this to happen," he said.

Authorities are interviewing people to learn more about Farb and his relationship with his family. Farb lived separately from his wife and his children. Neighbors say the only times they heard from Farb was when he was yelling at his two children.

At Hillsborough Elementary, Ashley's classmates spent Tuesday mourning her death.

"They all made a huge banner and every child wrote on it -- things like 'Ashley, you are the sparkle of my eye' and 'Ashley, you are the angel in my heart,'" said Anne D'Annunzio of Orange County Schools.

End-of-grade testing at the school was scheduled to start Tuesday, but officials decided to postpone those tests until Wednesday.

Brandon Robbins, 18, Erin Farb's son, was heading to school at the time of the shootings. He is currently in Burlington with his relatives.

Investigators said there is not a lot in Farb's background to suggest why he shot three people before committing suicide. A court record search showed that Farb had a prior history of offenses. Farb received a speeding citation in February 2000. In August 2000, he received a flying-while-impaired charge following a plane crash in Chapel Hill. Three months after that crash, he was charged with reckless driving. And in September 2002, he was charged with speeding.


Valonda Calloway, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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