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Shooting tragic for two close families

Stefan Gudac, 23, is charged with first-degree murder in the early Saturday shooting death of his longtime friend, Devin Barber, 20.

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SMITHFIELD, N.C. — A Pine Level man accused of killing a lifelong friend called Johnston County 911 early Saturday, telling the operator he had to shoot him.

“I told him to leave a few times. I put my hands on him. He wouldn’t leave, so I had to shoot him,” a man, identifying himself as Stefan Gudac, says in a call released Monday afternoon. “I need you to come here as quick as possible.”

Devin Barber, 20, of Smithfield, was shot three times, Pine Level police say, after an argument erupted around 1:30 a.m. at Gudac’s home at 417 E. Pine St.

It’s unclear what the argument was about.

In the nearly 5-minute call made from outside the house, Gudac remains calm and details to the 911 operator where he says he shot Barber.

”He’s got a stomach wound, and it looks like a neck wound – a graze wound on the neck,” he says. “He’s just got a wound – it looks like it’s right below his trachea.”

Barber is awake during part of the phone call but apparently loses consciousness near the end, Gudac says.

A second caller also called 911 from inside the house, insisting an EMS crew be called.

“We’ve got to get someone here quick,” the caller says. “Oh my God, I cannot believe this.”

Gudac, 23, is charged with first-degree murder and is in the Johnston County jail without bond.

During an initial court appearance Monday, a Johnston County District Court judge appointed him a public defender and scheduled a bond hearing for Dec. 9

Pine Level Police Chief Keith Sparks said Barber and Gudac had been friends since they were boys but declined to comment further on the investigation, including who the gun belonged to or whether alcohol was a factor in the shooting.

"They were buddies. They hung out a lot," said Darrell Barber of his son and the accused.

"He had to shoot him. Pretty drastic, don't ya think? ... I don't know why Stefan made that choice," Barber said.

Gudac is the son of Anthony Gudac, a Pine Level town commissioner who oversees the police department. Police said he was not at home at the time of the shooting.

Because of Anthony Gudac’s position, the State Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the case.

Anthony Gudac declined to comment Monday, but Barber’s father called the shooting a tragedy for both families.

“This is so tragic for everyone involved,” Darrell Barber said. “On Wednesday, we’ll bury one son, and the other will be behind bars.”

Devin Barber’s funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Grace Baptist Church in Princeton. The family will receive visitors Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Parrish Funeral Home in Selma.

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Adam Owens, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Mark Simpson, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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