As the community mourns, the sheriff says the mass shooting was due to a money fight.


RED SPRINGS, North Carolina “Wednesday evening, a memorial service is planned for the four people who were shot dead by a family member in Red Springs.

Robson County Sheriff Bernice Wilkins said Cory Grant Leak, 46, shot and killed three family members and a longtime friend Tuesday afternoon during an argument over money. Family members and sources close to the investigation told WRAL News that the money was drug-related.

James Elijah Beauregard, 45, Sierra Nicole Wherry, 34, and Donald Kendrick Williams, 51, died in the shooting. Equilla Williams-Biggs, 71, was injured. According to Wilkins, they were all shot multiple times. Williams-Biggs is expected to recover, the sheriff said.

Williams-Biggs’ grandson called 911.

“Hurry! Grandmother was shot, and there are two corpses on the ground,” he told dispatchers.

On Wednesday at 6:30 pm, prayers for the victims will be held at the First Missionary Baptist Church in Red Springs.

According to Wilkins, Leek was Williams-Biggs’ nephew. According to Wilkins, his 71-year-old aunt, also a mother and grandmother, allowed Leek, who was on parole for a murder he committed in 1993, to live in her house for free.

Wherry and Williams, Leek’s cousins, were Williams-Biggs’ siblings and children. According to the sheriff, Beauregard was a lifelong friend of Leek.

“What happened here is that we took the family away,” Wilkins said, adding that the family is highly respected and loved in their community.

Werry was visiting the Williams-Biggs when the shooting took place, sources said.

Wednesday’s press conference began with an emergency call made on Tuesday afternoon. You can hear the caller screaming and crying, asking for an ambulance.

The shooting occurred before 2:45 p.m. Tuesday in the Red Springs area, near the intersection of Samuel Drive and 8th Avenue. Wilkins said 30 to 40 police officers arrived at the crime scene and immediately started searching for the leak.

Police said Leak shot at the victims and fled the scene. The sheriff said it was a money dispute.

Detectives found Leek 15 miles after someone spotted him riding a moped without a helmet in Maxton, where he was later arrested.

Leak was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, one count of assault with a deadly weapon causing serious injury with intent to kill, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Robson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-671-3100 or 910-671-3170.

Life in prison lasted 26 years

Leak was convicted in 1996 of the murder of Arreatta Scott and spent almost 27 years in prison.

“If this guy had been locked up like it should have been… none of this would have happened,” Wilkins said. “If this guy shot his family members, just imagine what he would do to you and me.”

Leak was paroled on October 12, 2020, and he hasn’t had any felonies since.

Wilkins said he was held without bail for Tuesday’s shooting.

More mass shootings than days in 2023

It was a deadly January in the United States. The Associated Press reports that 39 people have died in six massacres, including one this week in Monterey Park, Calif., in which 11 people died in a dance hall as they celebrated the Lunar New Year.

A mass shooting involves at least four people who are shot dead, not counting the shooter, in a single firefight that may involve multiple locations. The US Secret Service’s National Threat Center reports that almost all attacks in January were perpetrated by one person, 96% of the attackers were male, and the age of the attackers ranged from 14 to 87 years.

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