July 6th, 2009
09:42 PM ET

Police say suspect in South Carolina serial killings is dead

Police say the suspect in five slayings was a man resembling this sketch.

Police say the suspect in five slayings was a man resembling this sketch.


Investigators believe the serial killer blamed for five deaths in South Carolina died in a shootout with police in neighboring North Carolina on Monday, a South Carolina state police official said.

Tests on the gun found on 41-year-old Patrick Burris match the weapon used in the killings that have haunted Gaffney, South Carolina, since June 27, said Reggie Lloyd, director of South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division. The dead suspect and his vehicle also appear to match descriptions circulated by investigators in Gaffney, he said.

"We believe a killer is off the streets," Lloyd said.

Burris was killed early Monday morning in Dallas, North Carolina, after police received a call about a possible burglary in progress, officers there said. At a news conference Monday evening, investigators described him as a "habitual felon" with a record in several states and who was on probation at the time he was killed.

When police arrived at the home, they found inside two people who lived there and a third who "was an acquaintance," police said.

"A second check on the suspect individual uncovered an outstanding warrant" from nearby Lincoln County, police said. "Officers attempted to serve the outstanding warrant when the suspect pulled a gun and fired at officers. Officers returned fire, killing the suspect."

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. William Courtland

    The guy just had a gun: and now no motive will likely be found: as inticement and incitement based upon hypnosis can cover-up any crime: so long as it is planned. Evil or Life's Civilization: always planned.

    July 7, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  2. William Courtland

    Biometrics in cases like this: go beyond phsyical evidence: and to reason shooting as to blame the suspected crimes upon a person: without first a trial buy jury: is not logical.

    The Case should not yet be closed.

    July 7, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  3. Art


    July 7, 2009 at 7:58 am |
  4. Donnell Bailey

    Hey Mr.cooper,
    my name is Donnell Bailey, hopefully you will read this and not just glance at it. There are a lot of things that are sprouting up in todays time as we all can see.I've been looking at your topics and cnn's home page topics.Millions of educators ,along with myself believe that you are excluding one gigantic topic and that is education,which equals the future for each and every scholar in this nation. These are tough times and we as americans,educators,parents, and scholars need to know what the the obama administration and government is doing about the education system. You and i both know that CNN is like the top rated news in this country, but if you are, you need to include every detail, not just those exciting things that are happening in this country. With love and respect
    -Donnell bailey
    14 year old Kippster

    July 7, 2009 at 5:51 am |
  5. T Currey

    You think the legal system fails in the USA, check out the laws in Canada because we RARELY imprison anyone!! *Unfortunately, the criminals have far more rights than the victims & that needs to be changed immediately!!

    July 7, 2009 at 12:30 am |
  6. Beth from Petaluma

    I can't imagine the fear in that town when victims were being murdered. Such a shame that such evil exists.

    July 6, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  7. Lori

    I am taking a road trip with my daughter and we are going to be going to upstate SC and honestly I was a little worried about this....happy that the ppl of SC now not have to worry about this lunatic.

    July 6, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  8. yivon tai

    RIP to the innocent victims

    ps : anderson/ erica – where can I get those AC360 backpack?
    greetings all the way from malaysia

    July 6, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  9. Quincy hawkins

    Thank God

    July 6, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  10. Tommy

    As a retired law enforcement officer, I am relieved that the senseless and tragic killing spree has been brought to a conclusion. Hopefully the citizens of North and South Carolina can breath a sigh of relief and return to some sense of normalcy.

    July 6, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  11. Kevin Millen

    I sure hate that man killed all of those people. I know the world makes life hard but that is no reason to kill anyone. I don't know what he was thinking but he wanted to be gunned down and not go to no jail. May that evil soul burn in hell but maybe the Good Lord, will still save him from the walls of hell once he sees the gates and repents to the all mighty. The Bible say the Lord is forgiving but murder is a commandment but it's more than 10 commandments. So no one commandment out weighs the other. May he rest in peace and the evil spirit rest also. As a person the world ganged up on and humilated, I still feel their is not a reason to kill them lying gumps because God will heal all wounds in time. Love life and survive because the game is wicked and will make you cry.

    July 6, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  12. Brian D

    Why is it that the media continues to call this guy a serial killer when he wasn't??? Neither the police nor professionals in the field have used this set of words for this kind of situation only the media. He is what you would call a spree killer cause he goes on a killing spree over the course of a short period of time. A serial killer is a person who murders usually 3 or more people over the course of more than 30 days with a cooling off period between each murder, whose motivation for killing is largely based on psychological gratification. A spree killer is someone who embarks on a murderous assault on 2 or more victims in a short time in multiple locations. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics defines a spree killing as killings at two or more locations with almost no time break between murders. While the FBI's definition is 2 or more murders committed by an offender or offenders, without a cooling off period. Please use the correct terminology for better accurate reporting.

    July 6, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  13. Jane

    Our judicial system in the US has some serious explaining to do in the case of the SC serial killer. Why was a wanted felon with a 25 page rap sheet walking around the streets of SC beside honest, innocent citizens. The families of the victims and the citizens of our state deserve to know why!!!!

    July 6, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  14. Stephanie Trevor

    this serial killer mustve had something wrong with him, honestly the poor people of south carolina deserve this calm period of time, after all of the worrying, and the rein of terror is now over and thank god. The poor people that died due to this man, may you rest in peace.

    July 6, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  15. Annie Kate

    Hopefully this was the man who committed the crimes in SC because if he is he just saved SC the work and cost of a court case and a long prison stay. Dying in a shoot out with the police – probably not only justice but poetic justice at that.

    July 6, 2009 at 9:58 pm |