GREENSBORO, N.C. — Sandra Palmer, 47, shot her 14-year-old son, Maurice Edmonds II, her 18-year-old daughter and the children’s father before killing herself Monday morning after a dispute inside a Greensboro home, Police Chief Ken Miller said Tuesday during a press conference.
Edmonds II died in the shooting. The two other victims, Danielle Imani Jameison, 18, and Maurice Eugene Edmonds Sr., 46, were both seriously injured and are listed in stable condition at Moses Cone Hospital.
Jameison is Palmer’s daughter. Edmonds Sr. is the children’s father, but was not married to Palmer, police said.
“The two adults had a 17-year relationship. There was a dispute in the morning in the living room. Sandra Palmer was the shooter,” Miller said.
Miller says investigators are not sure which child was shot first, but both children were shot before Edmonds Sr.
“She retrieved a firearm and came back in the living room. She maced Mr. Edmonds Sr. to disable him and began to discharge that firearm, striking her son and daughter multiple times,” Miller said.
After Palmer shot her children, police say Edmonds Sr. tried to get the gun away from her before he was shot.
Miller said Palmer then locked herself in another room and shot herself with a second handgun.
All evidence and statements suggest Palmer acted alone, Miller said.
One revolver and a semi-automatic gun were used in the shooting, Miller said.
Capt. K.L. Whitesell with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Palmer applied for one gun permit on Dec. 11, 2012. She retrieved the permit nine days later on Dec. 20.
“There were no disqualifiers on the background check — just a couple of minor traffic offenses,” Whitesell wrote in an email.
Palmer checked a box that said the reason for purchasing a pistol was, “Protection of self, family home, business property.” Other options on the permit include “target shooting,” “collecting,” “hunting,” and “other.” The permit listed a Winston-Salem address as a previous residence.
No registration has been found for the second firearm.
There are no records of any domestic violence, assault or other related incidents connected to Palmer or Edmonds Sr. in Guilford and Forsyth counties.
“It’s very unfortunate and I don’t know what drives people so quickly to jump to firearms to solve a problem. It makes no sense,” Chief Miller said. “We are still trying to understand the motive and the intent behind the assault.”
On Monday, officers responded shortly before 8 a.m. to 307 Mourning Dove Terrace.
Edmonds II and Palmer were both found inside the home. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
Jameison — a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill – was also found shot inside the home.
Edmonds Sr., who ran outside and collapsed after being shot, was found in the driveway. He was taken to Moses Cone Hospital where he is currently listed in “fair condition.”
Edmonds II was a student who played basketball at Northwest Guilford Middle School.
Northwest students were told about the tragedy Monday afternoon before they were dismissed for the day. The school’s principal, Rich Thomae, says the students are taking it hard.
“He was a very funny person. Outgoing — he always had a certain energy with him,” said Reggie Davis, a friend of Edmonds II.
On Tuesday, some students wore pink in honor of Edmonds II.
Debbi Smith says she attends school just down the road from where the shooting occurred.
“I’m shocked. I’m just shocked, because this seems like a really nice part of Greensboro,” Smith said.
Bob Ring lives one street over. He says this is an example of how horrible things can happen even in what’s considered a “nice” area.
“If this is domestic violence — that happens anywhere,” Ring said. “This is a low-crime area. I don’t worry about stuff out here. You know, there are crazy people in the world. Domestic stuff escalates, and this stuff happens everywhere.”
Neighbor Zacharias Barfield says he woke up Monday morning to hear Edmonds Sr. screaming. “He kept saying, ‘My kids! Help, help, help! My kids!’ I mean it was surreal.”
At first, Barfield said he thought Edmonds was having a heart attack. But then he noticed the blood.
“He was still standing over there when he said he was shot… That’s one of the main things I’ll hear the rest of my life… It’s haunting me — his pleas for help.”
Police say the family had been renting the townhome for the past year. They had never been called to the address before Monday.