Convicted kidnapper charged with ‘Mayberry’ killings

By Calvin Palmer

A convicted kidnapper was arrested by police early today in connection with the fatal shooting yesterday afternoon of four men in a parking lot in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Marcos Chavez Gonzalez, 29, was charged with four counts of murder and being a fugitive from justice from North Carolina, Mount Airy police said.

He was arrested without incident at a motel in Henry County, Virginia, about 50 miles northeast of the town.

Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson said at a news conference yesterday that the victims were shot outside Woods TV. He said the victims and the suspect were at the store for a reason.

“We don’t feel this was a random event,” Watson said. “We do have an idea why they were shot, but we won’t be releasing that.”

State prison records show Gonzalez was released more than two years ago after serving more than two years on a 2002 conviction for kidnapping a minor and a probation violation. The felony kidnapping charge required Gonzalez to register as a sex offender.

Police said the victims’ names were being withheld because their families have not been notified. Watson said all four were from Surry County, which includes Mount Airy.

The town is the hometown of Andy Griffith and inspired the idyllic community of Mayberry on the 1960s TV series The Andy Griffith Show. It has built a tourist trade on nostalgia for the show, which still airs on television.

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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