Man who killed 6 family members had prior assault charges

A North Carolina man who authorities say gunned down six relatives and killed himself was previously accused of assault in two cases, according to electronic court records.

The 1993 and 2003 assault cases, based in Chatham County where the shootings happened, were ultimately dropped.

In the shooting Sunday, Larry Don Ray, 66, shot and killed six others before turning the gun on himself in a cluster of houses in the rural Moncure area of Chatham County, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of Raleigh, the county sheriff’s office has said. His body was found at the same location as the others who were slain, all of whom were identified as family members.

The victims included his wife, Jeanie Ray, according to the sheriff and property records. Authorities have said they’re still investigating a possible motive.

Advertisement

Larry Ray was accused in June 2003 of misdemeanor simple assault, but the case was dismissed several days later by the district attorney, according to the court records.

In April 1993, he was accused of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor simple assault. Court records indicate he made a court appearance about a week later and the charges were dropped soon after.

The Chatham News + Record, which first reported on the assault cases, said the past charges originated from complaints by family members.

The people who made the assault complaints had surnames in common with two of the victims of Sunday’s shooting, though none appeared to be among those killed, according to the records.

The district attorney who currently oversees Chatham County, Jim Woodall, didn’t immediately respond to an email asking why the cases were dismissed or if he could share other details.

In recordings of a 911 call from Sunday released by the county, a male caller said he was hiding in his closet and that someone was at his house shooting. He said he didn’t get a good look at a gunman. The address he gave was for a house across the street from Larry Ray’s.

“Please get somebody here now,” he said.

Responding to a question from the dispatcher, the caller said he heard some arguing or yelling before the shots were fired. He said he was in his room at the time and hid in his closet when he heard the shots. He said his parents were John Paul Sanderford and Nicole Sanderford, whom authorities identified as among the dead. It’s not clear what relation they were to Ray. The caller remained on the line safely until authorities arrived.

___

Follow Drew at www.twitter.com/JonathanLDrew

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.