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Man killed former girlfriend, himself with shotgun

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A 25-year-old Pitt County woman was killed by an ex-boyfriend while attempting to leave her family's property Monday night on Whitehurst Lane near Whitehurst & Sons Fence Co., above, near the Beaufort County line.

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Whitehurst Lane
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By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A man shot and killed his former girlfriend as she was driving from her family’s gated compound east of Greenville Monday night then killed himself, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Laura Caitlyn Whitehurst, 25, was attempting to leave the property on Whitehurst Lane when Christopher Levon Garris, 26, fired on her vehicle with a shotgun about 9:50 p.m., Sheriff Paula Dance said on Tuesday.

Dance said Garris fired the weapon on Whitehurst as the gate was opening. Garris had been “lying in wait” for her, Dance said. He turned the shotgun on himself after killing her.

“These two people were in a relationship and had since separated,” Dance said in a news conference at her office Tuesday afternoon. “There has been no other calls for service for domestic situations with them.”

A relative called the sheriff’s office to report the shooting about 9:53 p.m. Dance did not identify the relative. 

The shooting occurred near the intersection of U.S. 264 west of the Beaufort County line.

Whitehurst Lane is a gated road that leads to several private residences, including a large home in front of a pond. The compound is situated behind Whitehurst & Sons Fence Co. No one at the business would comment on Tuesday.

Several people were having lunch at Poorman’s Flea Market next door on Tuesday. A man in the parking lot said he had heard about the shooting but did not know much about it.

It’s unclear if Whitehurst lived at the compound or was visiting there. Dance said both Whitehurst and Garris lived in Pitt County but she did not have addresses for either. 

Upon arriving, deputies discovered the two with gunshot trauma. Medical staff determined both to be deceased, Dance said.

Information about the two was limited.

During the news conference, Dance confirmed that Garris previously had applied to work with The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office when former Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks was in charge but that his application did not move forward.

In the wake of the shooting, she offered her deep condolences to the Whitehurst and Garris families. 

She also encouraged anyone who is in an uncomfortable or threatening domestic situation to report it to authorities. 

“Please tell someone, reach out to your local law enforcement, reach out to the local women’s shelter or the services we have in the county,” Dance said.

“Have that conversation and make plans when you are separating from a relationship,” she said. “As we all know and as history has shown us, when you leave, it’s the most dangerous time as it relates to domestics that rise to this level.”

The Daily Reflector requested a recording of emergency calls from the Pitt County 911 center, but Emergency Management Director Jimmy Hodges referred the request to the sheriff’s office out of concern that releasing them would interfere with the investigation.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Lee Darnell said Wednesday the 911 recordings are not available for release as the sheriff’s office is still investigating the shooting.  

Contact Tyler Stocks at tstocks@reflector.com and 252-329-9566.

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