A Monday morning shooting death along South Jeff Davis Drive in Fayetteville turned out to be a suicide, according to Fayetteville Police.
Police and other eyewitnesses say they saw a man sitting slumped by a wooden cross on the Merrill Chapel United Methodist Church property just a few feet from the roadway.
According to Lt. Mike Whitlow, that man had apparently taken his own life by shooting himself with a .44 caliber revolver. He said the gun was fired a short time before a Fayetteville Police officer on patrol along South Jeff Davis Drive just happened to spot the man sitting at the cross.
Whitlow said the officer immediately called for medical help and checked the victim’s pulse. The victim was declared dead at the scene.
“The subject was a 26-year-old male who had been staying with friends nearby,” Whitlow said Tuesday morning. “Detectives were able to determine that the male had driven to the church in a friend’s vehicle, parked in the parking lot and walked to a grassy area in front of the church.
“There is no known connection between the male and the church other than proximity,” Whitlow continued. “According to friends and relatives who were interviewed, he was despondent over a recent arrest.”
Whitlow said detectives have notified the victim’s immediate family.