STANLEY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — People who know the Blakney family say this is something they never could imagine and now they are praying and trying to help the family.
Gaston County authorities were already at the northeast Gaston County home in the 200 block of Brentwood Lane as the sheriff’s office was serving an involuntary mental commitment and domestic violence protection order.
People living in the neighborhood said there were always children at the home.
“There’s little kids up there every day playing and what’s those two little friends going to think?” said a neighbor who didn’t want to be identified. “Where’s my buddy?”
Police said Russell Blakney, 48, barricaded himself in the home, and then after 3 a.m. on Saturday, a fire started. Blakney and his 11-year-old twins were inside at the time. Blakney’s remains were found in the home. Authorities said Cyrus Blakney died at the scene from injuries sustained at the hands of his father.
“He was so passionate about particular things,” said Gaston Gators Swim Team assistant coach, Trey Taylor. “He loved to swim.”
Gaston County police are still investigating and haven’t released exactly what took place but call it a murder-suicide investigation. Cyrus was a state-level swimmer. Taylor said the team learned of the news during a meet this weekend.
“It’s been a tumultuous and tragic and hard to even describe weekend for the team,” Taylor added.
Cyrus and his sister Piper are both part of the Gaston Gators Swim Team. Piper was rescued from the home during the fire and is currently at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem with her mother.
“Both are doing well considering the circumstances,” said Catawba Heights Baptist Church children’s pastor, David Frady. “But it’s just a very difficult situation for them to overcome and we’re here to support them and help any way we can.”
That’s what neighbors in the community say they are going to do. And remember an 11-year-old boy who brought so much joy to a lot of people.
“Loved the Lord, laughed a lot, loved to play, just a wonderful kid,” added Frady.
“Everything we are trying to do now is to make sure that we are doing right by Piper and by Cyrus’ memory,” said Taylor.
The swim team tells Queen City News they have brought in grief counselors, and there are other ways the community is helping.