Serial Killer Fear Grips SC City Before July 4th

People plan to skip fireworks, keep guns handy until he's caught
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2009 6:53 PM CDT
The Tyler Home Center in Gaffney, S.C., where Stephen Tyler was shot and killed and his daughter was shot and injured, is pictured Friday, July 3, 2009.   (AP Photo/Spartanburg Herald Journal, John Byrum)
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(Newser) – Four serial slayings have panicked a small South Carolina city on the eve of July 4th celebrations, the Gaffney Ledger and AP report. Residents of Gaffney, SC, say they plan to stay home on Independence Day unless investigators—numbering at least 100 with an influx of state and federal agents—can apprehend the killer of four locals this week. "People are locking their doors, even in broad daylight," says Sen. Harvey Peeler.

Police found a small-business owner and two women murdered this week in apparently unconnected slayings. A peach farmer was shot dead in his home Saturday. Now people say they'll stock up on guns, travel in groups, or skip tomorrow night's fireworks altogether. The Cherokee County sheriff fears residents will overreact. "People are going to start shooting at shadows," he says.