Page last updated at 09:21 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 10:21 UK

US 'serial killer' shot by police


Police detail how events leading to the suspect's killing unfolded

A serial killer who terrorised a town in South Carolina has been shot and killed by officers, US police say.

Patrick Tracy Burris, 41, was killed when officers investigating an attempted burglary tried to arrest him.

Bullets in his gun reportedly matched those used in the murders, which saw five residents of the town of Gaffney shot and killed within a few days.

Police said Burris had a long criminal record and had been released on parole in April after serving eight years.

Undated mug shot of Patrick Burris (Photo: released by Cherokee County Law Enforcement)
Burris was a career criminal released on parole just two months ago

"Look at this," State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Reggie Lloyd told a news conference, waving a copy of Burris's criminal record.

"This is like 25 pages. At some point the criminal justice system is going to need to explain why this suspect was out on the street."

Previous charges filed against Burris included larceny, forgery and breaking and entering in several states in the south-eastern US.

Police say they still do not know the motive behind the killings.

"He was unpredictable. He was scary. He was weird," the deputy director of the SLED, Neil Dolan, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

"We have him. He's our serial killer," Mr Dolan added.

The killings occurred over six days within about 10 miles (16km) of each other in Cherokee County, a rural community some 50 miles west of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Map showing where killings took place

A peach farmer was killed on 27 June, an 83-year-old woman and her daughter were found bound and shot four days later, and the following day a father and his teenage daughter were shot in their family's furniture shop.

Burris was shot dead by officers responding to a burglary complaint at a home in Gastonia, some 30 miles (48km) away in neighbouring North Carolina.

When they tried to arrest him, Burris opened fire.

Police say an investigation is under way to determine if he was involved in other unsolved crimes in the area.

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