Seven people died hours apart this week in Sampson County, North Carolina. The killings happened Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Five people in a house were shot and killed, the sheriff said. Clinton police said that about 10 miles away, officers shot and killed an assault suspect who pointed a gun at them.

A seventh person was found stabbed to death, according to the sheriff's office. An eighth person was shot in the buttocks outside a church later Thursday morning, the sheriff's office said.

Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said Friday that the crime scenes are not related.

What You Need To Know

  •  Deputies found the bodies of five people killed in a home in Sampson County shortly after midnight Thursday, the sheriff's office said

  •  At about 1:40 a.m., police shot and killed an assault suspect who pointed a gun at officers, according to Clinton police

  •  Another man was found stabbed to death just before 7 a.m., the sheriff's office said

  • The sheriff's office said the killings were all unrelated

"The past 16 hours have been full of tragedy in our great county," Thornton said. "In all we have lost six lives to violent behavior."

A 911 call after midnight Thursday led deputies to the bodies of five people at a home on Garland Highway, according to the sheriff’s office. Thornton said the victims appeared to targeted. 

At a second scene, on Dogwood Circle, police in Clinton said they shot and killed a man who pointed a gun at officers just after 1:30 a.m.

A person who called 911 from the first scene said they had talked to someone in the house at about 11 p.m. Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said. When the person got off work, they went to the house and found five people dead, according to Sampson County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Eric Pope.

There were four male victims and one female victim in the home, ranging in age from their 30s to 80s, Pope said. The victims were Black, white and Hispanic, he said. 

The Sampson County Sheriff's Office released the victims' names as the following:

  • Alfonza Jeffers, 73, of Clinton, N.C.
  • Dagoberto Lopez, 33, Garland, N.C.
  • Hector Salazar Lopez, 39, Garland, N.C.
  • Lamar Williams, 58, Rose Hill, N.C.
  • Jamie Lynn Rowland aka Jamie Thompson, 47, of Clinton, N.C.

Deputies are still working to understand how the people at the first house are connected.

At the second scene, officers with the Clinton Police Department went to a home at about 1 a.m. after a woman reported being assaulted by a man with a handgun. She said the man hit her with the gun in her face and head, police said. 

Officers said they searched the house and found the man hiding in a closet. He pointed a gun at the officers, and they shot and killed him, according to police. 

The third crime scene is at a trailer park on Leaf Lane used by seasonal farm workers, according to the sheriff’s office. A man, later identified as 33-year-old Gerardo Bautista, was found stabbed to death in the bedroom of a mobile home, Pope said. The sheriff’s office said there is a “person of interest” in the stabbing.

The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the police shooting.

The fourth incident of the morning happened near a church on Casper Road. A man, identified as Justice Elliot, got in what Pope described as “an altercation with two associates.” Elliot was shot in the buttocks and then went to the Pleasant Grove FWB Church for help.

Elliot was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive, the sheriff’s office said.  

The sheriff’s office said deputies do not think there is a threat to the general public. 

Thornton says despite "the rumor mill" and speculation on social media, "these series of unfortunate tragedies are not connected."

"I ask that you pray for those who lost their lives, their families and friends. I also ask that you pray for the Clinton Police Officers involved in the shooting," Thornton said.