Henderson County Sheriff Charlie McDonald said today that he believes the man who shot and killed his estranged wife and her parents intended to ambush and fire on law enforcement officers.
Authorities said Ralph Robert Warren III killed the three with a high-powered rifle Wednesday evening outside a home on Piney Ridge Drive before taking his own life.
McDonald said Warren fired more than 20 rounds at the scene. When officers found him he had a 30-round clip in the rifle and two more 30-round clips beside him on a knoll in a field.
The sheriff said he feels very fortunate no officers were shot.
Authorities hunted for Warren for about two and a half hours and found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound a few miles from the crime scene. The victims of the triple homicide were identified as: Carrie Tracy Warren, 30; Theresa Russell Tracy, 49; and Richard Allen Tracy, 51. Carrie Warren, who was separated from Warren III, was the daughter of Theresa and Richard Tracy.
McDonald said the couple’s two children were at the home, and one witnessed the shooting.
Major Frank Stout said the shootings were possibly the result of “a domestic situation that’s been ongoing for the last couple of months.” Warren was scheduled to appear in court June 4 on charges of communicating threats and making a harassing phone call.
“We’ve had several dealings with him in the last couple of weeks,” Stout said of Warren. “Some domestic dispute issues, failing to appear in court, just numerous violations.”
Eddie Metcalf, a resident on Piney Ridge Drive, said his wife, Lynn, called him when she heard 15-20 shots about 5:30 p.m. She said the shots were so loud they shook the windows of their home.
Witnesses identified the suspect as Warren’s estranged husband. Stout says the body of 32-year-old Robert Warren III was found near a car a few miles from the shooting scene.
The Times-News of Hendersonville reported (http://bit.ly/10jnOvy ) that Warren was supposed to appear in court next month on charges of making harassing calls and communicating threats.
Warren fled the scene, and his car was found abandoned in a field across from the intersection of Howard Gap and Jackson roads in Fletcher. His body was found at about 8 p.m. in a nearby field, where he apparently died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.