Seven family members fatally shot in North Carolina

The suspect is among the dead, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

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By Janelle Griffith

Seven members of a family were fatally shot over the weekend in North Carolina, the Chatham County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

The suspect is among the dead, Lt. Sara Pack, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, told NBC News.

Pack said that the incident is suspected to have been a murder-suicide but that authorities are still investigating a possible motive. It occurred in Moncure, about 30 miles southwest of Raleigh.

Those familiar with the area describe it as "a quiet, close-knit community where violence is out of the norm," the sheriff's office said.

Investigators search three homes on a single property in Moncure, North Carolina, on Monday, March 16, 2020, after a report of a possible murder-suicide.WRAL

Sheriff's deputies responded to a "shots fired" call shortly after 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The seven people were found shot at multiple homes on the same property, Pack said.

The deceased, including the suspected shooter, have been identified as: Jeanie Ray, 67, Helen Mason, 93, Ellis Mansfield, 73, Lisa Mansfield, 54, John Paul Sanderford, 41, Nicole Sanderford, 39, and Larry Ray, 66.

"To lose any family member is devastating, but to lose several at once to unexpected violence is unimaginable," Sheriff Mike Roberson said in a statement. "There are no words to describe the sense of loss we feel as a community in the wake of this terrible event."

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.