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Robert Stewart Kills 8 in N.C. Nursing Home Shooting, Had a Violent History?

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By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on March 30, 2009 9:51 AM

A nursing home in North Carolina, Pinelake Health and Rehab, was the unlikely scene of terror and violence on Sunday, becoming the site of the latest in a series of March mass shootings such as those in Alabama and Germany. The AP reports that 45-year-old Robert Stewart killed eight people, including seven elderly residents of the home, before he was shot in the chest by police officer Justin Garner who responded to a 911 call (Garner himself was also injured but is expected to fully recover). The extent of Stewart's injuries are unclear at this point, although court records indicate he is not expected in court until next week.

Speculation on the motive behind the tragic nursing home shooting has centered around Stewart's estranged wife, Wanda Luck, who reportedly works at the nursing home. She was not among the victims in the shooting, but a neighbor of Luck's parents told a Raleigh newspaper that she was at work that day.

Stewart's ex-wife, Sue Griffin, also gave the AP some possible insight into Stewart's mindset going into the shootings, stating:

"...Stewart had been recently reaching out to family members, telling them he had cancer and was preparing for a long trip and to 'go away.'

Griffin said she was married to Stewart for 15 years, and while they hadn't spoken since divorcing in 2001, he had been trying to reach her during the past week through her son, mother, sister and grandmother.

'He did have some violent tendencies from time to time,' Griffin said. 'I wouldn't put it past him. I hate to say it, but it is true.'

Griffin did not clarify just what "violent tendencies" means, and police continue in their efforts to discover the precise motive in the case.

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