LUMBERTON, N.C. — The Pennsylvania man who lost his wife in what police described as a road rage killing is speaking about the moments that led up to the shooting.
“In three minutes my whole world turned upside down and I don’t know why,” Ryan Eberly said. He’s the husband of Julie Eberly, who was killed in the road rage shooting on Interstate 95 in Lumberton last week.
Along with her husband, Julie Eberly left behind six children.
”There’s a lot of numbness,” Ryan Eberly told Pennsylvania station WGAL. “There’s a lot of raw emotion. She just loved being around her family and friends and sharing our blessings.”
He said the couple was headed to the beach to celebrate their anniversary.
”I changed lanes and a car was coming behind me,” Ryan Eberly said. “I didn’t see that he was going around me and I pushed him into the shoulder mistakenly. As soon as I was able, I gave him room to get back on the highway. No car contact, no nothing.”
Moments later, the vehicle came back around.
“I saw in my mirror that he was passing us to the right and gunshots were fired, our car was hit. My wife yelled my name. I asked if she was hit and she said ‘yes.’”
Julie Eberly was taken to UNC Southeastern Hospital where she later died.
Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins announced Monday that investigators had identified the shooter’s vehicle from surveillance footage.
“I need, as a husband, to do everything in my physical power to do whatever I can to bring her justice,” Ryan Eberly said.
Photo released of car tied to road rage shooting that left mom of 6 dead
Robeson County officials have released a surveillance photo of the car linked to a North Carolina road rage shooting on Interstate 95 that left a mother of six dead.
Deputies were called out near the 23-mile marker along I-95 South just before noon on Thursday. When they got there, deputies found Julie Eberly, 47, of Mannheim, Pennsylvania, had been shot through the passenger door.
According to authorities, she was headed to Hilton Head Island with her husband when the shooting happened. Robeson County investigators said that the Eberly’s car came close to the suspect’s vehicle during a lane merge. That’s when the suspect pulled next to the Eberlys and opened fire into the car, detectives said.
Investigators have now identified the shooter’s vehicle from surveillance footage. The car is a silver four-door Chevrolet Malibu that was made between the 2008-2013 with North Carolina tags. The car has tinted windows and chrome trimming around the window frame.
Anyone who lives along Elm Street and Roberts Avenue in Lumberton is asked to review their surveillance system for images of the car. Investigators are looking for footage between 11:40 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on March 25.
The sheriff’s office has already announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Investigators are asking that anyone with information call the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-671-3170.
”Someone recognizes this vehicle. I am asking that anyone with information as to who or where this vehicle is, to contact our office immediately,” said Sheriff Burnis Wilkins. “We will continue to track this suspect until we are standing in his yard.”
Hundreds donate to road rage victim’s family after deadly shooting
An online fundraiser in honor of the Pennsylvania woman who died after being shot in a road rage incident on Interstate 95 as she and her husband drove to the beach last week has raised thousands of dollars in a matter of days.
As of Tuesday morning, the family’s GoFundMe, called the “Julie Michelle Eberly Memorial Foundation” had received more than $50,000.
Authorities are still searching for her killer.
The shooter was driving a silver or gray Chevy Malibu with tinted windows, police said. It also possibly had chrome around the window frame. It was last seen traveling southbound down I-95 to Exit 22.
The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that the woman who died was Julie Eberly, 47 of Manheim, Pennsylvania. Her husband, who was driving the car, was not injured.
Authorities said the Eberly’s vehicle unknowingly came close to the shooter’s vehicle while merging into another lane.
“The suspect rolled down his window and fired multiple shots into the passenger door, one of which struck Julie Eberly,” the release said.
The Eberlys were heading south near Exit 22, north of Lumberton, when the shooting happened. The city is south of Fayetteville and near the South Carolina state line.
Eberly was taken to UNC Southeastern Hospital where she later died. Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said Eberly left behind six children who he said were at home with their grandparents.
He also said that Julie Eberly and her husband had just celebrated their wedding anniversary and were headed to Hilton Head to get away for a few days.
“This was an innocent family from Pennsylvania headed to the beach for a vacation,” Wilkins said. “Thankfully they had left their six children at home with grandparents but now these kids have to live with the thought of their mother being murdered in such a cowardly and senseless way.”
>> Click here to learn more about the memorial foundation to honor Julie Eberly.
Burnis said in a Facebook post on Friday that homicide detectives are working to locate and review video footage from the area to try to identify the driver.
The family has set up a GoFundMe account, stating “We want to raise funds to honor Julie and her life. Julie was a beautiful, loving, generous, and giving person. We will be using the funds to help others and to give to the organizations that were close to her heart.” If you’d like to be taken to the page, click here. The sheriff said they’re thankful for all the community help and support.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 910-671-3170 or email email@example.com.
According to WNCN, the Eberly family issued the following statement:
“Julie Eberly’s life was tragically cut short when a person chose to shoot into the vehicle while traveling with her husband, Ryan Eberly, along I95 just outside Lumberton, NC. There is so much more to Julie than the moment of her tragic passing.
“Ryan and Julie were on their way to Hilton Head to celebrate their 7th Anniversary which was on March 23rd. They were meeting with Julie’s closest friend and her husband to celebrate their mutual Anniversaries.
“We want to tell Julie’s story in the hope that someone, somewhere will come forward, who knows the individual who took the cowardly action of firing a gun from a moving car into another vehicle. Finding this person won’t bring Julie back, but it will provide justice for Julie and prevent this from happening to anyone else. It will also provide comfort and a bit of closure for Julie’s family.
“Julie and Ryan blended their families seven years ago and have built a loving home together. Julie made it her mission to open their home to friends, family, and neighbors. It was her joy to have these people around her and bless them with her hospitality. As Ryan and Julie’s children grew and matured, they were looking forward to the next stages of their lives together including enjoying being first-time grandparents. Julie truly had a mother’s heart and delighted in being an integral part of each of the childrens’ lives.
“On her adventurous side, Julie loved to go snowmobiling whenever there was snow and she was also ready for any type of adventure. Summer weekends were spent with friends and family poolside at home and at their family’s camp in upstate Pennsylvania.
“Julie’s roots of faith grew deep. She was involved in several prayer ministries and deeply passionate in helping people find healing. Everyone who knew her enjoyed her joy for life and positive spirit. Her distinct laugh still echoes in the hearts of everyone she touched. Even in the midst of this horrific tragedy, we are seeing the hand of God through the care and concern of many individuals.
“A special thank you goes out to Robeson County Chief Deputy Howard Branch and Robeson County Sheriff Burris Wilkins as well as the entire Lumberton community for going above and beyond in taking care of both Julie and Ryan through the worst day possible.
“Thank you also to the Lancaster/Manheim community for their continued prayers and support. It is in these loving gestures that the family will be able to heal.
“A gofundme page has been created, the Julie Michelle Eberly Memorial Foundation, at the urging of the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office because of the hundreds of emails from residents wanting to know how to help. The money will be used to make donations to charities in Julie’s honor.”
Cox Media Group