Goldsboro police identify victim, suspect in deadly shooting at law firm Riddle and Brantley

Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Client kills attorney, then himself in Goldsboro
Patrick White, a lawyer, is being remembered as a hero for giving his life to save others when a client opened fire in the law offices.

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- Goldsboro police are investigating a deadly shooting inside a law office in Goldsboro.

It happened inside the Riddle and Brantley law firm at 601 N. Spence Ave. just before 4:15 p.m. on Monday.

Investigators said they found the bodies of two men inside the office. The victim has been identified as 42-year-old lawyer Patrick White, from Raleigh. Police say the suspected shooter was 46-year-old Francisco Sanchez of Greenville, who shot and killed himself.

Sanchez and his wife, Crystal Guerrero, came into the law office around 9:30 a.m. for a mediation. Because of attorney-client privilege, details of the mediation were not disclosed.

White was the attorney of record for the Sanchez/Guerrero case, and attorney Gene Riddle was assisting with the mediation

There seemed to be little warning of the violence to come; Riddle recounted the horrific moments that followed.

"I'm still trying to process it," Riddle said.

The meeting seemed routine. Mediation progressed throughout the day and all parties landed on an amount, and everyone seemed to be pleased with the outcome shortly after 4 p.m.

Guerrero then asked to speak with Sanchez alone while White, Riddle, and the mediator left for other offices in the building

After the couple met privately for a few moments, Riddle said he saw Sanchez coming toward him and heard gunshots. Riddle, believing he had been shot, fell backward into his office.

Sanchez then turned his attention to White, who was standing nearby, White attempted to stop Sanchez from continued gunfire but was fatally shot in the process.

"I'm telling you this (account of what happened) so you understand the heroic action of Mr. White," Riddle said Tuesday, "Patrick yelled (Sanchez's name) and asked him to stop.

"Patrick was saving us," Riddle said, with tears in his eyes,

Riddle said he got up and began frantically looking for his daughter, who he said he believed was still in the law firm. He saw Sanchez in the reception area and told him to get out and leave

Moments later, Riddle heard another gunshot and found that Sanchez had shot himself in the head.

Riddle was at White's side in his final moments while also calling 911.

"All I could say is God help him. Take care of Patrick. I knew he was gone," Riddle said. "Patrick, he sacrificed himself. Our savior."

People who live in that community said they are in shock to hear of the violent episode at the popular law firm that also has locations across the Triangle.

At the gas station across the street, people who saw the police swarm this very well-known law office said Monday afternoon that they witnessed the unthinkable.

"I heard about what happened," said Anthony Burke, who drove past the crime scene. "I know my family is big on Christmas holiday and we heard he had a family as well. So we wanted to reach out as well, show our condolences. It's a really sad incident."

Goldsboro police and Wayne County deputies swarmed the law offices throughout the evening.

"I saw cops coming from multiple directions, sirens and I was wondering what was going on, but I knew it was something serious because when they came out, they had their guns ready on guard," said James Crearer, who works at the Shell station across the street.

Crearer said he's interacted with Riddle in the past.

"As time went by, we heard what was going on, and yes sir, very surprising, very shocking to the community," he said.

A representative from Riddle and Brantley said via phone Monday night that no one could comment on this investigation.

"This is one of the safest areas in Goldsboro, and none of that stuff is going on here," said Muhab Arkubati, who owns the Shell station. "Shocking to see it around here."

On Tuesday, a law firm staffer added: "(Patrick) is a true hero, which is the way he lived his entire life."