A Pleasant Garden, N.C., mother went on a shooting rampage, wounding her jilted lover, then hunting down and methodically shooting five children in the head, killing three of them.
Police said Mary Anne Holder, 36, shot six people on Sunday then turned the gun on herself, killing her sons Robert "Dylan" Smith and Zachary "Zach" Lee Smith, 14, as well as the 8-year-old niece she was raising, Hanaleigh Michelle Suttles.
Col. Randy Powers of the Guilford County Sheriff's Office confirmed the deaths and said that Holder had left two notes at her home, but he would not reveal their contents.
"I just can't believe it -- my best friend is gone," said Nick Couch, 15, whose mother Stacy Couch had been best friends with Holder for 10 years. "Zach stayed at our house Saturday."
In critical condition at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro -- all with gunshot wounds to the head -- are the nephew she was raising, Richard Brian "Ricky" Suttles, 17, and Makayla Kee Woods, 17, who was her son Dylan's girlfriend.
"More of this story has not come out," said Nick's father, Mark Couch. "This is not about a jilted lover or the affair. This thing was three years old and had come and gone."
Holder's former lover Randal Scott "Randy" Lamb, 40, was the first to be shot; his wounds were not life-threatening. Lamb wasn't available for comment.
The Suttle children had lived with Holder, a temporary office assistant, since her sister-in-law had died of complications of pneumonia after childbirth last February, according to Couch.
In February, Jennifer Lamb had filed a temporary restraining order against Holder, saying she undermined her reconciliation with her husband Randy by calling, texting and emailing, according to the Greensboro News-Record..
Police said that in July Holder had a restraining order out on Randy Lamb and his wife Jennifer. "But that had expired," according to Powers.
Just the day before the shootings, the Lambs had reached a settlement in a civil lawsuit in which Jennifer Swann Lamb had sued Holder for "alienation of affection," he said.
According to the police timeline, Lamb and Holder arranged to meet at the GTCC's Aviation Center around 8:52 a.m. on Sunday.
At the small airport, Holder shot Lamb twice in the arm and elbow, wounding him. He headed back home, calling his wife, Jennifer, who, in turn, called 911.
Police were alerted and after interrogating Jennifer Lamb and identifying Holder as the shooter, they drove to Holder's house on Cocoa Drive, "waiting for her to show up," said Powers.
Meanwhile, Holder drove to the Couch home to pick up her son Zach, and he sent a text message to thank the family for letting him spend the night.
By 10:11 police spotted Holder's black Ford Explorer on Remora Drive and saw a puff of brown smoke.
"The officer slammed on his brakes and backed up -- when she approached and comes toward her and shoots herself," said Powers.
Murder-Suicide Shooter Left Two Notes
The deputy discovered Zach critically wounded in the back seat. He later died.
When police returned to Holder's home to investigate, they found four more victims -- her son Dylan and his girlfriend, and the Suttles' siblings. Dylan was dead and "Hana" died Monday at the hospital, according to Powers.
"We are still investigating," said Powers. 'We are working toward angles based on the two notes, but we want to try to go in without preconceived notions and try to verify her thoughts...We don't want a grassy knoll three years from now. We are dotting all our i's and crossing all our t's."
Mark Couch said his family was so upset, "we can't describe it."
"We know these people inside out," he said of the Holder family. "Dylan and his brother would spend the night at our house and they would spend the night at theirs. We did stuff all the time as a family. I refuse to believe it. This is incomprehensible."
The night before the shootings, Zach and his friend Nick Couch had watched an Ultimate Fighting Championship.
"All we know is that it was [Zach's] mom and we can't see her doing that," said Nick. "We knew her pretty good and we were at the house all the time. I just don't know why it happened. We are just trying to figure that out now."
"He was probably the closest friend I had," he said.