N.C. shooter says he doesn't remember rampage
By Mike Baker
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CARTHAGE, N.C. — The man accused of killing eight people in a rampage at a North Carolina nursing home told a hospital nurse after the shooting that he "does not remember anything," according to search warrants released Tuesday.
The court documents say investigators went to the home of Robert Kenneth Stewart, 45, after the March 29 assault and found ammunition on the kitchen table and a bed, eight guns and an assortment of scopes and gun barrels.
The warrants also say they found unspecified pill bottles and several pieces of notebook paper with writing, but details of what was written haven't been released.
Stewart was shot and wounded by a police officer, ending the rampage. At a hospital where he was treated before being jailed, he told a nurse that he had taken six "nerve pills" and did not remember anything else, according to an affidavit attached to the warrants.
The warrants also allowed investigators to draw blood from Stewart "to determine if there is any controlled substance in his body."
Stewart is being held in North Carolina's maximum security Central Prison in Raleigh on charges that he killed seven elderly patients and a nurse at Pinelake Health and Rehab Center. Three people were injured, including the Carthage police officer who stopped Stewart with a single shot to the shoulder.
Investigators have declined to discuss their view of the motive, although authorities have said they are looking into whether the shooting was "domestic-related." Stewart's estranged wife, Wanda Gay Neal, was working at the facility as a nurse. She has said she was working in the home's Alzheimer's unit, which requires a passcode to enter.
The search warrants were made public Tuesday after a judge had previously sealed them at the request of county prosecutors, who initially claimed that the papers contained "sensitive and confidential information" and that it was necessary to keep the documents away from the public's eyes "to protect all parties."
Authorities have identified the victims of the shooting as Pinelake residents Tessie Garner, 75; Lillian Dunn, 89; Jesse Musser, 88; Bessie Hedrick, 78; John Goldston, 78; Margaret Johnson, 89; Louise DeKler, 98; and nurse Jerry Avant, 39.