82-year-old dies after being assaulted in his Rural Hall home

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RURAL HALL, N.C. -- An 82-year-old man is dead after being assaulted in his own home and the suspects in the assault are still at large.

Deputies say that on Feb. 1, they responded to 82-year-old Rolland Greene’s home on Jackson Street in Rural Hall. When they got there, Greene told them that two men had entered his home and demanded money, but when he refused, they assaulted him and took some money.

“I couldn’t, it took a while for it to all register because he was a good person,” said Sam Puryear, who first met Greene when he was a student at Carver High School, and Greene was the band director.

Greene was taken to the hospital, where he died two days later.

“You read about this in the paper, happening somewhere else, but when it happens right in your neighborhood that’s a whole different story,” Puryear said.

Puryear described Greene as family-oriented; doing whatever he could to help his fellow man.

“My in-laws they got burned out, and they came over there and stayed. Matter of fact, my sister-in-law was staying there too, so, he had my mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law and her husband,” Greene said of Puryear, after his in-laws lost their home to a fire. “When he got to the point where he was disabled, I would go down there and mow his yard.”

Greene said the neighborhood now needs to consider forming a neighborhood watch group and working more closely with the sheriff’s office to make sure they’re safe.

“Sometimes when people come up with an idea, if your mind is not mature enough, you go along with it, and then afterwards reality sets in, we just killed somebody, or rubbed somebody, or hurt somebody,” Puryear said.

A preliminary autopsy showed that Greene suffered broken ribs and his head had been lacerated, in addition to other health-related issues.

“He was a kind person and he’ll be greatly missed,” Puryear said. “He had daughters, sons, grandchildren and all that.”

Deputies are awaiting the final results of the autopsy to determine if the assault is the primary factor in Greene’s death.

Greene’s obituary says his funeral services will be conducted tomorrow, Feb. 10, at St. James United Methodist Church in Rural Hall. The family will receive friends from noon to 1:00 p.m., prior to the funeral service.