Police: College shooting possibly hate crime; victim was gay

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GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Police said Tuesday they were investigating the fatal shooting of a gay community college worker as a possible hate crime.

The shooting victim, 44-year-old campus print shop director Ron Lane, was gunned down by former student Kenneth Morgan Stancil III on Monday morning, police said. Lane dismissed Stancil from the print shop's work-study program in March because he had too many absences.

Police have not released a motive in the shooting and said the men's relationship was purely a supervisor-student one. Calls to Stancil's home were not returned and family members declined comment to an Associated Press reporter.

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Shooter at Wayne County Community College (goes with article #21171502)
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Police: College shooting possibly hate crime; victim was gay
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)
A police officer stands by as students and faculty are allowed to return following a lockdown at Wayne Community College, in Goldsboro, N.C., Monday, April 13, 2015. One person was killed in a shooting at the community college that was locked down as authorities searched for a gunman, officials said. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A police officer stands by as students and faculty are allowed to return at Wayne Community College, in Goldsboro, N.C., Monday, April 13, 2015. One person was killed in a shooting at the community college that was locked down as authorities searched for a gunman, officials said. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Wayne Community College President Kay Albertson speaks to members of the media following a shooting on campus in Goldsboro, N.C., Monday, April 13, 2015. One person was killed Monday in the shooting at the community college that was locked down as authorities searched for a gunman, officials said. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Students and faculty wait outside Wayne Community College during a lockdown following a shooting on campus in Goldsboro, N.C., Monday, April 13, 2015. One person was killed in the shooting at the school that was locked down as authorities searched for a gunman, officials said. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Authorities remain on the scene following a shooting at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, N.C., Monday, April 13, 2015. One person was killed in the shooting at the community college that was locked down as authorities searched for a gunman, officials said. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A police officer stands by as students and faculty are allowed to return to Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, N.C., Monday, April 13, 2015. One person was killed in a shooting at the school that was locked down as authorities searched for a gunman, officials said. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Students and faculty wait outside Wayne Community College during a lockdown following a shooting on campus in Goldsboro, N.C., Monday, April 13, 2015. One person was killed in the shooting at the community college that was locked down as authorities searched for a gunman, officials said. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A North Carolina State Highway patrolman walks the grounds on campus following a shooting at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, N.C., Monday, April 13, 2015. One person was killed and the campus was locked down as authorities searched for a gunman, officials said. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Two people hug as students and faculty wait outside Wayne Community College during a lockdown following a shooting on campus in Goldsboro, N.C., Monday, April 13, 2015. One person was killed in the shooting. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Maj. Tom Effler, of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, speaks to members of the media at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, N.C., Monday, April 13, 2015. One person was killed Monday in a shooting at the school that was locked down as authorities searched for a gunman, officials said. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Wayne County Sheriff deputies stand by the home of shooting suspect Kenneth Stancil in Dudley, N.C., Monday, April 13, 2015 following a shooting at Wayne Community College. One person was killed Monday morning in a shooting at the community college that was locked down as authorities searched for the gunman, officials said. A manhunt is underway for Stancil. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
#VNewsCD More: Officials say all buildings at Wayne Community… http://t.co/60DVbhTj0I #Foxnews #CNN #MTVStars http://t.co/FufoM1Q1Ng
Maj. Tom Effler said Kenneth Stancil is considered a person of interest, a W/M, bald w tattoos on his face http://t.co/nJZekiUABL
We are at Wayne Community College where an active shooter is being pursued GPD and Sheriff's Office on scene http://t.co/3hI8rUp5fv
Sheriffs deputies and police officers are inside the perimeter with long guns and bullet proof vests. http://t.co/e7zPaEoADU
The GPD crime lab is on scene http://t.co/e60ZQ9OeOO
School employees/personnel continue to be evacuated, an active shooter is sought on Wayne Community College campus http://t.co/D9UkEqI5WC
#BREAKING: Wayne County Community College campus locked down after shooting http://t.co/fDi3BrSZsS #wral
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Lane's supervisor at the college said Lane was gay, but police refused to say why a hate crime was being investigated.

"At this time, I'm not prepared to divulge that information," Goldsboro police Sgt. Jeremy Sutton said at a news conference.

Experts who track hate groups said Stancil's facial tattoo with the number "88" was a clear indication of a neo-Nazi, who have been accused of attacking gays. However, police have not said whether Stancil held white supremacist beliefs.

Police say the 20-year-old Stancil entered the Wayne Community College print shop where he used to work and fired once with a pistol-grip shotgun, killing Lane, his former supervisor, just as Lane was arriving for work. The shooting sparked a campus-wide lockdown as police stormed the building searching for Stancil, who immediately fled on a motorcycle. The manhunt lasted for nearly a day and ended with Stancil's arrest on a Florida beach.

"Mr. Stancil had a calculated plan," Sutton said.

After the shooting, police found the motorcycle abandoned in a median on Interstate 95 in Lumberton, North Carolina, about 80 miles south of Goldsboro, where the college is located.

Police figured Stancil was headed south and alerted law enforcement along the East Coast. After releasing a photo of Stancil with a facial tattoo he had gotten as recently as Saturday, police said people reported several sightings of him.

An arrest photo of Stancil released by Florida authorities show him with the number "88" on his left cheek, a number used by racist extremists, said Brian Levin, a criminal justice professor and director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. Because "H" is the eighth letter of the alphabet, 88 equates to HH or "Heil Hitler," Levin said.

"That's something we pretty much exclusively see in the neo-Nazi world," Levin said. "Those who get facial tattoos, tend to be the uppermost, anti-social part of the scale."

Neo-Nazis have a long and violent antipathy toward gays, said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States.

Early Tuesday, more than 500 miles from the school, a beach patrol officer found Stancil sleeping on a beach with a knife, authorities said. Police don't know how he got there.

"Our officer did a well-being check on the subject and woke him up," Tamra Marris, a spokeswoman for Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue said in an email. "Initially the subject had a knife on him and was ordered to put the knife down. The subject complied with the officer's orders and the subject was apprehended without incident."

Police have not found the 12-gauge shotgun they believe was used to kill Lane.

Goldsboro police and the Wayne County district attorney's office will work to have Stancil extradited to North Carolina to face charges. His first court appearance in Florida was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Stancil had no criminal record before the shooting, police said.

Brent Hood, coordinator of education support technology at the college, was Lane's supervisor for the past three years. He said he thought Stancil killed Lane because he was upset over being dismissed, not because he was gay.

"I guess from my point of view, he (Stancil) was angry over getting dismissed from his duties," Hood told The Associated Press. "If he had other reasons or motives, it was not clear when he worked here. He worked very well with Ron; he worked very well with my other employees."

Hood said Lane's partner of 12 years had disappeared in July and his remains were found several months later. Police said Chuck Tobin killed himself.

"When I made the announcement across the employee email that Chuck had been found, he (Lane) said he was OK with me saying Chuck was his partner for 12 years," Hood said. "The administration was a little concerned. But Ron wanted it to be said that way."

Meanwhile, students returned to class at the college Tuesday.

"It's a day of healing. We will be paying personal tributes to Ron Lane," school spokeswoman Tara Humphries said.


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