Three family members found dead in Henry County home; neighbor describes scene
By Laurence Hammack | The Roanoke Times
In what's being investigated as a murder-suicide, three members of a Henry County family were found shot to death early Sunday in their home, which was then set on fire. A fourth family member was wounded.
Police were called to 210 Wilhaven Lane in Axton at 12:17 a.m. to find the house on fire and the surviving victim still at the scene.
Timothy Carter, a 22-year-old Radford University student, was suffering from two gunshot wounds.
Carter told authorities that his father, 56-year-old William Ronald Carter Sr, had called him home and then used trickery to lure him into the basement, according to a news release from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.
As Timothy Carter was going down the stairs, he was shot in the back by his father, authorities said, and was then shot a second time as he tried to escape.
At some point after that, apparently, the house was set on fire.
The bodies of William Carter Sr., his wife, Bonnie Williams Carter, also 56, and their son William Ronald Carter Jr., 29, of Danville, were all found shot to death in the basement.
Police reported finding a "combination rifle/shotgun" at the scene.
Timothy Carter was taken to Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County and then transferred to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.
He was listed in fair condition this afternoon.
Debra Akers, who lives across from the Carter home, said Timothy Carter showed up on her doorstep shortly after midnight.
"He was banging on the door, begging for us to let him in the house," Akers said. "He said his father was trying to kill him."
When Akers and her husband let Carter inside, they discovered he had been shot in the neck and the back. As they applied towels to Cater’s wounds and called 911, they learned some details of what had been happened next door while they slept.
Carter said that his father had called him at Radford earlier in the evening and told him there was something wrong with his older brother, and that he needed to come home right way, Akers recalled.
"He said ‘Daddy lied to me’, and that he lured him back home," Akers said.
William Carter Sr. then led his son to the basement steps and shot him in the back as he was walking downstairs, according to Akers' account. By then, Timothy Carter had seen his mother and older brother lying dead on the floor.
After he was shot the first time, Timothy Carter pretended he was dead and managed to get away, Akers said. He was apparently shot the second time as he fled from the house, and was under the impression that his father was still looking for him when he got to the Akers home.
"It scared us to death," Akers said. "It’s just seemed like a nightmare."