Nancy Britt, a teacher at Raleigh's Enloe High School, was in Robeson County taking care of her disabled sister over the weekend. Police said someone shot Britt in the upper body around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Her sister, who was sleeping in another room, called 911 for help.
Lumberton Mayor Ray Pennigton, who happens to live just a few doors down from Britt's sister, said Britt used to babysit his kids.
"I don't feel uncomfortable in the neighborhood," he said. "It goes to show someone that would do that has no respect for human life. They don't have respect for any community regardless of where it is."
Pennington said he believes the house is an unlikely target for crime since it is well-lit from nearby businesses that border Interstate 95. Police said there were no visible signs of forced entry.
Authorities said there were no signs of a struggle in the house. They said Britt's purse and car keys were still on the kitchen table, along with the key to the deadbolt.
Police said they are investigating the case as a homicide.
As a matter of routine, investigators have interviewed Britt's husband and son.They have not named a suspect or a motive.
A year ago, Britt was honored as Wake County's AG Teacher of the Year, and Washington Elementary School was named top magnet school in the nation. Allyna Stone worked with Britt for almost 10 years at Washington Elementary. The two women traveled to California to receive the award.
"We saw one of the TV stars from '7th Heaven,' and so she was really excited about getting an autograph to take home to her husband and her daughter," Stone said.
Stone said Britt loved life and there are other memories of that trip as well.
"I guess one of my happiest memories of her is sitting with her. We were looking out over the Pacific Ocean and just saying, 'Wow! Wouldn't it be great if we could do this every day at school,'" Snow said.
Britt is being remembered as a gifted and dedicated teacher.
"Nancy was a dedicated educator. Anyone who has the opportunity to work with her immediately recognized her passion for working with students," Enloe principal Lloyd Gardner said. "She was extremely supportive of students and teachers in working with them. She had such a high level of commitment that the teachers certainly loved working with her, and they tremendously respected her for what she did and what she's contributed."
Britt is survived by her husband, two children and two sisters.
A memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church, 99 North Salisbury Street in Raleigh Tuesday at 4 p.m.In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the North Carolina Chapter of the American Cancer Society. A memorial scholarship fund honoring Britt's memory will be established in the near future.