FUQUAY-VARINA, NC — Shock, anger and helplessness are how family and friends of a woman gunned down by her estranged husband are feeling Monday night.
A Fuquay-Varina mother of two, Becky Pearce tried and failed to get away from danger – her husband — who was also a Granville County deputy.
Meanwhile, the Granville County Sheriff and his staff are grappling with the horror of having one of their own commit a murder-suicide.
“I was shocked when I got a call Friday night about quarter to ten,” said Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins. “You don’t ever expect to get a call like this … it was a total shock. I don’t believe it happened,” he added.
Police say that deputy Jeremy Pearce kicked in the door of a home where his wife and two small children were staying during their separation process.
Becky Pearce called 911, but police arrived just as the deadly gunshots rang out, officials say.
Her young daughters, ages 2 and 6, were locked in a bedroom when the shooting happened and were not hurt.
“The bottom line — he took her life and didn’t have a right to do it. It’s just a sad situation,” Wilkins said.
Before serving as a Granville County deputy, Jeremy Pearce worked in other law enforcement roles.
“He worked at Louisburg College, then Henderson Police Department and then he went to Wake Forest before coming here to the sheriff’s office,” Wilkins said.
Court records obtained by CBS North Carolina show Pearce went through a probationary period before becoming a Louisburg College campus police officer because he failed to disclose a 2004 arrest for simple worthless check, as well as a 1999 reckless driving to endanger charge.
But in his three years in Granville County, the sheriff says Pearce had no issues.
“He was a good person. He was kind and easy going,” Wilkins said.
Becky Pearce worked at a Raleigh hair salon for the last 11 years.
“She was just a loving, sweet girl who wanted to make people feel good,” said Jennifer Fincher, who owns the salon called Blu.
On Monday, the booth where Becky Pearce cut hair is now a memorial to her with flowers from customers and staff.
“Becky was kind, generous and selfless. She was a wonderful woman. She loves her children more than anything in the whole wide world,” Fincher said.
Police said that Becky Pearce did not have a protective order against her husband.
“The family was having some issues, but I didn’t have a clue it was this bad. They were going through a separation I never saw it coming,” Sheriff Wilkins said.