CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. - Three people are dead -- including the suspect -- after a shooting involving four people Wednesday, Cabarrus County sheriff's deputies told Channel 9.
IMAGES: Scene of 3 shot, 2 dead in Cabarrus County
Chief Deputy Paul Hunt said the suspect, 29-year-old Reginald Mercer, was found dead inside a home Wednesday near a crime scene on Shiloh Church Road. Hunt said it appeared that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
PRESS CONFERENCE: Cabarrus Co. Deputy Chief says person of interest found dead
Investigators said they were working three different crime scenes and are not looking for anybody else in connection with the shooting.
CHOPPER 9: SWAT team enters Cabarrus Co. home after deputies said 3 shot
Deputies arrived at a home on Shiloh Church Road around 1 p.m. Wednesday and found an injured woman-- Brenda Jackson -- running out of the house.
Jackson said her daughter Tina Carter had been shot inside the house and was unresponsive.
Investigators said they also found Albert Jackson Sr. shot to death in the back seat of a vehicle behind the home.
SWAT teams surrounded and entered the house. When they didn’t find Mercer, they launched a search for him. A North Carolina Highway Patrol helicopter was called in to aid in the search.
Investigators put school buses on alert and re-routed them away from the scene. Two schools, W.R. Odell Elementary and Harris Road Middle, were briefly placed on lockdown at 1:10 p.m. The lockdown was lifted around 1:30 p.m.
Channel 9 learned that Mercer, a registered sex offender, had a criminal history. Family members of the victims told Channel 9 that Mercer had recently been mentored by one of the victims, Albert Jackson Sr., who was trying to get Mercer back on track.
Deputies said Brenda Jackson was taken to the hospital and is cooperating with authorities investigating the incident. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Family members said Brenda Jackson is Mercer's mother. Mercer's sister and Brenda Jackson's daughter, Tina Carter, was found dead inside the home. Family members also said Albert Jackson Sr., who was found dead in the vehicle, was also related.
“He was with him every day like a father-son-type thing,” Anthony George Jackson, Albert’s son, said. “He helped him, took him places.”
“I'm just stunned,” Albert Jackson Jr., Albert’s son, said. “I don't know what to think.”
The investigation is still ongoing and authorities have not determined a cause of the incident.
Chilling 911 calls released
Three chilling phone calls are helping investigators piece together the terrifying moments inside the home.
Screams and what sounded like gunshots could be heard in the first 911 call from a home on Shiloh Church Road. The dispatcher called back when the caller hung up, and Mercer answered before hanging up on him:
Mercer: “Oh, it was an accident. I'm sorry.”
Dispatcher: “Where are the females in the background screaming?”
Mercer: Oh, she's right here. Hold on.
Dispatcher: Let me talk to her. (Mercer hangs up)
Not long after, Mercer's mother, Brenda Jackson, called for an ambulance.
911 CALL: Woman calls 911 after being shot in Cabarrus Co.
Jackson told a dispatcher, “Me and my daughter have just been shot by my son. She got bullet wounds to her head. I got one to my head, my hand and my shoulder.”
Investigators said Jackson came running out of the home while her daughter, Tina Carter, was dead inside and Mercer's mentor, Albert Jackson Sr., was shot dead outside in his SUV. After a manhunt for Mercer, investigators found him dead across the street in a family member's home.
Photo of victim Tina Carter
“One of the main things that we want to try to identify is why,” said Cabarrus County Sheriff Brad Riley.
Investigators are doing interviews and autopsies are being done to see if drugs or alcohol escalated emotions.
Channel 9 learned Mercer's mother has been released from the hospital, but investigators aren't confident she even knows what set off her son.
Family members said Albert Jackson, Sr. had picked Mercer up from work Wednesday before the shooting. Jackson's son said he did that often for the troubled youth he was mentoring.
“Only thing my dad said about Reggie was he was 'a changed person. I'm giving him a chance.' That's what he told me,” said Albert Jackson, Jr.
Something happened after Jackson dropped Mercer off at the home where Mercer's mother and sister were together.
“We don't know what went on in his head yesterday,” said family friend Cheryl Thrasher-Horne. “I don't know what overtook him. I'm not saying ‘how could he have done that?’ because he couldn't have done that.”
Mercer has a long criminal past, but those who knew him say he was turning his life around. They can't understand why he would hurt his mother and leave two loved ones dead.
Investigators said the investigation may not be wrapped up until next week. They plan to talk to Brenda Jackson to see if she can piece together what took place.
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