GAFFNEY, S.C. — The serial killer who terrorized a South Carolina community by shooting five people to death before police killed him Monday was a career criminal paroled just two months ago, authorities said.
Patrick Burris, 41, was shot to death by officers investigating a burglary complaint at a home in Gastonia, N.C., 30 miles from where the killing rampage started June 27. Bullets in Burris' gun matched those that killed residents in and around Gaffney over six days last week, said State Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd.
Investigators did not have an address for Burris. Evidence left no doubt that he was the killer, they said, but his motive remained a mystery.
Burris had a long rap sheet with charges and convictions including larceny and forgery from states across the Southeast. He had been paroled from a North Carolina prison in April after serving nearly eight years for felony breaking and entering and larceny.
The mystery ended in Gastonia early Monday after a couple called police to report a suspicious sport utility vehicle. Mike and Terri Valentine saw three people enter a nearby home, including a man who matched the killer's description.
When officers went inside, Terri Valentine said, she heard someone yell, "Put it down!" Then, "Bam, bam, bam, bam. Next thing I know, all of Gaston County was here," she said.