South Carolina police: Serial killer is dead

A man shot and killed by Gaston County police early Monday morning is the serial killer that killed 5 people in Cherokee County, S.C., the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Monday evening.

Ballistic tests showed the man's gun matched the weapon used in the killings. Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton said the killer is Patrick Tracy Burris, 42, a career criminal who was released from prison in April, according to N.C. records. Burris has been arrested in N.C., Florida, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.

Blanton said police could tie some items stolen from the home of one of the victims to Burris. Police also said they didn't know if he had ever lived near Gaffney. A public records request search by The Observer showed his last address was in Reidsville, north of Greensboro.

Police said the didn't have any motive, and don't know why he was in Cherokee County.

At 6:30 p.m., SLED towed a champagne-colored Ford Explorer from an abandoned Gaston County home to search it for evidence. Police believed the killer drove a similar-colored Explorer.

The identity of the man killed by police this morning has not been released. The Gaston County police told The Observer that they are trying to contact the man's relatives.

The suspect was killed in Gaston County, about 43 miles from Gaffney, S.C., where someone shot and killed five people in six days last week.

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