CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. — A teenager who survived a double-murder suicide in Cumberland County Tuesday evening told WTVD about his horrible experience.
Billy Setzer, 17, was inside a mini-van when he says the bullets started flying. He said 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. Setzer, a family friend, was also in the van.
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.
The gunman then shot himself.
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, who was identified as 22-year-old Gerald Patrick Marr, had been dropped off at the house and was outside waiting.
Friends told WTVD that the mother and her family had met Marr at church, became friends, but the relationship soured 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.
Setzer says he feels lucky to 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.