Local News

Police: Man shoots wife, then kills mother, himself

Posted June 11, 2008 2:46 p.m. EDT
Updated June 11, 2008 9:01 p.m. EDT

— Rocky Mount police were investigating two shootings by the same suspect Wednesday, one of them fatal.

Investigators said they believe Thomas Willis Smith, 58, shot and killed his mother, Emma Smith, 89, in her room at Guardian Care of Rocky Mount before turning the gun on himself just after 8:30 a.m.

Thomas Smith was found unconcious in his mother's room. He was taken to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville and died at about 1 p.m.

At approximately 8:15 a.m., paramedics had responded to 116 Ketch Point Court, where they found Marsha Smith, 52. She told paramedics she suffered an injury to her head and they took her to Nash General Hospital, where doctors determined she had been shot in the head. She was in stable condition at Pitt Memorial on Wednesday afternoon.

Marsha Smith is Tomas Smith's wife. According to police, the shootings – one at his home and the second at the nursing home – took place about 15 minutes apart.

Guardian Care released a statement citing "a sad and tragic incident" that was "completely unforeseeable."

A supervisor at the home said Emma Smith had been living there for about two years and that she was alone in her room with her son at the time of the shooting.

He added that no changes to security were planned because Guardian Care administrators believe this was an isolated incident.

According to the statement, Guardian Care planned to offer counseling to residents, families or employees who needed it.

Visitors at Guardian Care Wednesday were torn over how the home handled the case.

One woman said she had visited her mother and was satisfied with her safety. "You can't put the place on lockdown," she said.

"I feel like they should have more security, you know, check people going in and out," relative Annie Hill countered.