Vettskremt residents canceled July Fourth plans and holed up in their homes Friday as investigators hunted a serial believed to have shot four people to death.
Tanya Phillips had seen at a backyard barbecue at his brother's house but instead planned to stay home with her doors locked.
"I'm not taking any chances," said Phillips, 32, mother of two who work in schools, leisure center. "I will go out during the day but not at night. I do not feel safe."
Bulk evidence links the killings, but officials have not yet determined how the victims are connected or if they knew who shot them, "said Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton.
"Yes, we have a serial number," he said at a news in this rural 50 miles south of Charlotte, NC
So far, all the investigator must go on a sketch of a suspect and a description of a possible escape vehicle, but police will not say who provided the information.
The latest victims were found in the family's small furniture and appliance store near the center of Gaffney around closing time Thursday. Stephen Tyler, 45, was killed and his 15-year-old daughter was shot and seriously wounded. Tyler's wife, his adult daughter and an employee took them in Tyler Home Center, County Coronet Dennis Fowler said.
A day earlier, and about seven miles away, family members found the bodies of 83-year-old Hazel Linder and her 50-year-old daughter, GENA Linda Park, bound and shot in the Linder home. Blanton would not say about Tyler and his daughter were tied.
The killing Spree started last Saturday about 10 miles from Tyler Home Center, where peach farmer Kline Cash, 63, was found shot in their living room. Blanton said the killer may have only spoken with Cash's wife to buy high. She went and came home a few hours later to find her husband's body. Investigators said it appears he was robbed, but have not determined if anything has been done in the other killings.
Cherokee County, home to around 54,000 people, had only six killings throughout 2008 and half that the year before.
Residents have "their guard up and pistol by the hand," said state Sen. .. Harvey Peel, R-Gaffney, who recalled the area that terrorized once before, in 1960, after a serial called Gaffney Strangler. Otherwise Gaffney is best known for a giant water tank shaped as a peach that can be seen from education 85
"There is no greater fear than the fear of the unknown and no one knows. You can cut the tension with a knife," Peel said. "People are locking their doors, even in broad daylight."
The Fourth of July is a busy weekend, with thousands of people expected to attend fireworks in several environments.
"You will live a normal life," Phillips said as she stood outside a grocery store. But you do not. "
All available officers will be working this weekend, Blanton said, confirming that it is "genuine fear in the county." He urged people to take precautions to be in groups and to call 911 if their cars break down and they get stuck on the side of the road.
"If someone breaks into my house, I am armed and ready," says Mike Daniels, 53, a retired Army Sergeant. "And I will not hesitate to shoot first and ask later."
Hazel Smith, 47, said that the neighbors feel vulnerable.
"If he killed once, he will kill again," she says sitting on the porch with her friends. "Tonight, I will live in and be a little more difficult that he will be caught."
The latest shootings happened less than a half mil from the Sheriff's office, where at least 30 investigators were working on it. Blanton says profiles suggested Tyler and his daughter may have been shot to taunt investigators, but he said that his only concern is to solve the problem.
"We had a 15-year-old girl shot, he killed a 83-year-old woman," Blanton said. "The good people in this society do not deserve it."
Sherriff memory people have the right to protect itself and recommended merchants and others to avoid knocking on strangers' doors to so many on increased alert.
People will start to shoot at shadows, "Blanton said.