Campus

N.C. College Shooting Being Investigated as Possible Hate Crime

Kenneth Morgan Stancil III is seen in a booking photo provided by the The Volusia County, Fla., Department of Corrections. Stancil, 20, wanted in the shooting death of the print shop director at at Wayne County Community College in North Carolina on Monday morning, was arrested in Florida early Tuesday, April 14, 2015, Goldsboro police said. (Volusia County Department of Corrections via AP)

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (TheBlaze/AP) -- Police said Tuesday they are investigating the North Carolina college campus shooting as a possible hate crime because the victim was gay.

Kenneth Morgan Stancil III, 20, confessed to shooting and killing his former boss, Ron Lane, in a Florida court on Tuesday, telling authorities that Lane, 44, was a child molester, WFTV reported.

Lane was Stancil's former boss at the campus print shop at Wayne County Community College in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Lane, who was 44, had previously fired Stancil for too many absences.

A beach patrol officer in Daytona Beach, Florida – 500 miles from the site of the alleged crime  – took Stancil into custody at around 1:30 a.m. Officials found him while he was sleeping on the beach and said he was holding a knife.

Police said Stancil rode his motorcycle to Lumberton, North Carolina, from Goldsboro, where police later found the abandoned bike. WFTV reported that Stancil hitchhiked the rest of his way to Daytona Beach.

Goldsboro police and the Wayne County district attorney's office will work to have Stancil extradited back to North Carolina, where Stancil faces an open count of murder, according to the Associated Press.

Kenneth Morgan Stancil III is seen in a booking photo provided by the The Volusia County, Fla., Department of Corrections. Stancil, 20, wanted in the shooting death of the print shop director at at Wayne County Community College in North Carolina on Monday morning, was arrested in Florida early Tuesday, April 14, 2015, Goldsboro police said. (Volusia County Department of Corrections via AP) 

Authorities have not determined an official motive in the case and have not said why they are pursuing it as a possible hate crime.

However, Brian Levin, an expert with the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino told the Associated Press that the tattoo seen on Stancil's face, showing the number "88" has been associated with Neo-Nazi beliefs.

The shooting caused the campus to go on lockdown Monday, resulting in classes being canceled for the rest of the day. Students at Wayne County Community College returned to classes on Tuesday.

First-year student Joniece Simmons, 19, said she was sitting on a bench outside the learning center when the shooting happened. Two officers with rifles and a third with a drawn handgun ran toward the building, shouting for students to take cover. She and others ran inside to the cafeteria and locked the door.

Though they were urged to stay silent, some students still wanted to talk. "I was like, `Hush, it's serious.' I was crying," Simmons said.

Nearby, the private Wayne County Day School - with about 300 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade - also was on lockdown, said Melissa Watkins, a volunteer parent receptionist at the school.

"We saw 10 to 11 cruisers go by all at once," she said. "We knew something was going on; we just didn't know what or where."

Sheriff's deputies blocked the driveway to the white mobile home listed as the residence Stancil shared with his mother and two younger brothers.

A next-door neighbor on the road lined with brick ranch homes, Barbara Williams, said Stancil's grandparents lived on the other side of the mobile home, where they operated an assisted living home. A sign in the front yard said "Stancil Family Care Home." An elderly man with a cane who came to the front door declined comment to an Associated Press reporter.

Williams said Stancil once helped her late husband when he fell out of his bed.

"He came over here and picked him right up and put him back on the bed," Williams said. "I've never had no problems with those kids. ... It just surprises me."

This post has been updated.

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