In the midst of mourning the loss of a well-known West Jefferson police officer, local authorities rushed to the scene of a double shooting, which they are now calling a murder-suicide, on 160 Whispering Pines Lane in Jefferson.
According to Ashe County Sheriff James Williams, investigators received a call at 2:20 p.m. Thursday afternoon in reference to a shooting just off of Glen Bare Road. When authorities arrived on the scene they discovered the bodies of 48-year-old Sherrie Ashley and 51-year-old Richard Creal Hiley outside of the residence. Both victims suffered apparent gunshot wounds. Early speculation by investigations is that Hiley shot Ashley before turning the gun on himself. Investigators found a Chinese SKS (7.62 x 39 mm) rifle at the scene and are continuing their investigation of the events surrounding the shooting.
Williams explained that that the couple had dated for approximately three years and that there was no indication of trouble in their relationship in terms of domestic disputes. Williams did state however that Hiley had a previous history of dealing with mental health issues.
The truth is, we may never know what went on, Williams said.
Neither Hiley nor Ashley had a recorded criminal history with the North Carolina Department of Corrections. At the time, the couple was living in the basement of a residence, which they did not own.
The shooting occurred during the same time of Officer Tommy Beamers funeral and a large number of the countys law enforcement personnel were attending. Although the shooting occurred in the Jefferson city limits, the ACSO handled the investigation and were the first to arrive on the scene.
The investigation into the shooting is ongoing. Please continue to follow the Jefferson Post and www.jeffersonpost.com for additional updates.