Local News

Suspect sought after three killed in Bladen home

Authorities were searching Sunday for a Bladen County man after three people were killed in a Clarkton home.

Posted Updated

Mikaya Thurmond
, WRAL anchor/reporter
CLARKTON, N.C. — Authorities in Bladen County were searching for the man suspected of shooting four people, killing three of them.

The shooting occurred at about 1:30 a.m. at 71 Tina Lane, according to the Bladen County Sheriff's Office. A 911 caller reported that a man had entered the home, opened fire and left.

Katrice Lacole Murchison, 30; Ronnie Lebert Kelly, 27; and Guy Lennon Barden Jr., 60, were found dead in the home when deputies arrived. Hazel Epps, 69, survived the shooting, but her condition was unknown Sunday.

All four people are believed to live in the home, authorities said.

Bladen County authorities respond to a triple homicide on Tina Lane in Clarkton on Feb. 23, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Bladen County Sheriff's Office)

Arrest warrants were obtained for Taurean Reshaul Johnson, 36, of Clarkton, charging him with three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Epps’ niece, Tina Gainey, said she learned about the shooting around 2 a.m. Sunday.

“I got a phone call in the middle of the night, like, 2 o’clock in the morning, and just rushed out here.”

Gainey said she now fears for her safety.

“I’m scared to go home,” she said. “I don’t know what to do.”

Murchison had a 9-year-old daughter and wanted to become an elementary school teacher, according to her cousin, Adonis Avery. Kelly was her boyfriend, Avery said, who added that he didn't know the other victims.

Community members said they’re also on edge.

“It could’ve been any of us,” said Eric Howard, who knew the victims.

Johnson wasn't in custody Sunday. Authorities asked that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office at 910-862-6960.


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