Law Enforcement officials confirmed today that Patrick Tracy Burris, the man fatally shot near Gastonia, NC on Monday, was indeed responsible for the recent killing spree around Gaffney, South Carolina. Ballistics evidence matched the gun Burris attempted to use against police officers with bullets recovered from the murder scenes. Police announced their findings at a press conference on Monday.
ABC11 reports Burris, 41, was recently paroled from prison in North Carolina, where he had served 8 years on felony charges for breaking and entering and larceny. The killings are raising questions about parole in North Carolina; Burris’ 25 page criminal record prompted one law enforcement officer to wonder “why he was on the street in the first place.”
The Greensboro News and Record reports that Burris was convicted in five separate counts of breaking and entering and larceny in connection with crimes committed in Rockingham County throughout July, 2001.
He was released after serving only 8 years of a 10 year sentence. Prior to that, Burris served time for forgery. He was charged with an attempted shooting in Reidsville and has other unspecified convictions in Florida, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.
Upon release from prison, Burris remained in North Carolina. His last listed address was in Eden, NC. Authorities are now investigating whether Burris may be responsible for other deaths in the area.
The residents of these communities are relieved that the ordeal is over, but a long process of grief and healing is ahead of them. As one resident puts it: "My prayers were answered. He got what he deserved. He scared the hell out of everyone. I guess we can feel better but we’ve lost some of our innocence."