Survivor of double murder-suicide recounts horrible scene

HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A teenager who survived a double-murder suicide in Cumberland County Tuesday evening told ABC11 his incredible story.

Billy Setzer, 17, was inside a mini-van when he says the bullets started flying. He said for an instant he feared the gunman was trying to kill everyone in that van.

"I heard the glass shatter and everything," said Setzer.

It was an instant that Setzer feared he would not live to talk about.

"When I turned my head, I did feel the wind off a bullet, but I am pretty sure if I did not move my head, I probably would have been wounded too," he said.

Investigators say 15-year-old Kelsey Phillips, along with her 14-year-old brother, Zachary, and their mother, 31-year-old Diana Hathaway, were in the van when the shootings began.

Hathaway and her son were killed. Kelsey was wounded.

Relatives say it all started when the van pulled into the driveway of Zachary's girlfriend's home. Shots immediately rang out. Zachary was shot outside the van. His mother and older sister were shot inside the van.

Setzer, who was in the back seat with Kelsey, was not hurt. He tried to shield Kelsey.

"I turned my head," said Setzer. "She was screaming but not really doing anything. I grabbed her in the seat, but, before I grabbed her, I guess she got shot a couple of times."

Relatives say the gunman identified as 22-year-old Gerald Patrick Marr had been dropped off at the house and was outside waiting. Detectives have not said how many shots were fired.

Friends say Hathaway and her family had met Marr at church, and became friends, but the relationship soured they say after Marr tried to keep Zachary and his girlfriend from seeing each other.

They say the family was also suspicious about the relationship between Marr and Zachary.

Whatever the reason for the shooting, Setzer is just glad to still be alive.

"I thought he was going for everybody," said Setzer. "I didn't know if he was trying to go for them, not me, but I don't see how because my door was open. He was shooting in my direction and shot her.

Kelsey Phillips is recovering at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Report a Typo

Copyright © 2019 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.