Father accused of fatally shooting son set to appear in court - | WBTV Charlotte

Father accused of shooting son makes court appearance


A Mecklenburg County judge ordered that Earnest Howard Gurley Jr. stay in jail at least for the next 12 days.

The murder suspect has retained Charles Viser as his personal attorney who calls the case a family tragedy.

"He's very distraught. He's very upset. This is a tragic situation," he said. "I'm not  gonna comment on any admissions. I think you could characterize his cooperation thus far as being complete."

Gurley who is 63, has been charged with the murder of his 20-year-old son, Benjamin James Gurley, police say.

Police it happened in a South Park neighborhood Thursday morning after a verbal altercation.

Regarding the possibility of the case being self defense,  "I am not gonna comment about the particular facts of the situation," Viser said.

The incident was reported at 8:43 a.m. on the 3100 block of Fairfax Drive in the Barclay Downs neighborhood, according to a spokesman with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Police say Earnest shot his son in the chest inside the home and then dialed 911 to confess.

The son wandered out into the front yard where he collapsed and later died at 8:51 a.m., according to police. 

Neighbor Ann Gonzales heard the police sirens.

"The police officer pulled out his gun and approached the front doorway and said 'get down', and repeated it and that was basically all I heard," said Gonzales.

Neighbors say the father and son seemed to get along.

"Just a nice kid. I never heard anything negative. Everything was positive," said one neighbor.

Katie Cannon remembers meeting Gurley for the first time.

"He was very sweet and polite and he made a point to introduce himself," said Cannon.

Cannon worked with his girlfriend and says the couple was excited about having a baby on the way.

"When she first found out she was pretty tickled, a little nervous but happy at the same time," said Cannon.

Gurley worked for several months at Angry Ale's. The restaurant owner called the shooting a "tragedy."

"Ben was a very good kid and sweet guy," said owner Andy Henson.

On his Facebook page, Gurley posted a message to his unborn child. "I love you more than anything" he writes. "I'll see you in 6 months and I can't wait!!!"

Police have not released a motive for the shooting.

Gurley returns to court on June 27th for a both a bond and probable cause hearing.

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