CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) --There are new details in a double murder-suicide out of Cumberland County which reveal the 22-year-old shooter went by an alias, met his victims at church, and lived with the youngest victim -- a 14-year-old boy.
Everyone thought they knew him, but they knew nothing about him. Even in his death they believed he was Jeff Allen, but he was Gerald Patrick Marr.
Diana Hathaway, 31, and her teenaged children met Marr at the Hollandale Advent Christian Church in Spring Lake. Marr had been attending there for a couple of years, but had not joined the church and did not serve in any official capacity, according to members. They said they didn't know he was 22 years old, and he had participated in youth activities.
Church members also knew Marr as "Jeff Allen," but had no idea where he'd come from.
According to close family friends, Hathaway allowed her 14-year-old son, Zachary Phillips, to live with Marr for the summer, while she got through a domestic abuse case in Harnett County involving her ex-husband, Eugene Phillips.
"Jeff (Marr) acted like a dad towards him," said Zachary's girlfriend, 15-year-old Skyler Cantwell. "I think he liked Zach as more than a friend."
The family, to include Hathaway's 15-year-old daughter, Kelsey Phillips, had moved away from Spring Lake months ago. Phillips was set to testify against her father in the abuse case Tuesday morning, according to Hathaway's Facebook page.
But by Tuesday evening, Marr had gone on a shooting rampage in Cantwell's Winthrop Drive front yard, killing Zach, Diana and injuring Kelsey. Cantwell said she's sure he had come to kill her.
"It was a controlling thing, like I was taking Zach away from him or something like that," she said. "So he just wanted me out of the picture, I guess."
Instead, Cantwell saw Hathaway pull up to Cantwell's home with her children, and that's when the girl heard six gunshots go off in her front yard.
"He was parked down the street and he didn't know that they were coming, and we're pretty sure he was coming for me," she said. "And when he saw Zach pull up he just... it triggered him and he just shot Zach's family instead."
Zach lay dead in Cantwell's driveway. His mother was killed in the van, and Kelsey was shot in the back seat. Her boyfriend, 17-year-old Billy Setzer, shielded the girl from the bullets. She is recovering from nerve damage to her arm, and Setzer escaped without injury. He told ABC11 that if he'd moved his head, he would be dead as well.
Cantwell describes the entire ordeal as "horrible."
"He was perfect," she said, recalling Zachary. "He was honestly the best boyfriend I've ever had."
Cantwell said it's hard to process why Marr, who would buy Zachary expensive gifts, would lie about his identity.
"Not even if we get all the answers... it's never going to make sense because they were the best of friends. Like the best of friends," said Cantwell.
Meanwhile, Hathaway's family is trying to fund a proper burial for the mother and her son. More information is here: http://www.gofundme.com/cp6f3g.
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