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10-year-old dies from wounds; wife's family rallies to her support
More details of a troubled marriage, a frantic call for help and old threats of violence from a past relationship emerged Thursday in the aftermath of a devastating family shooting in Union County.
The friends and family of Grace Minor, the mother of two young boys shot Wednesday morning by their father, Mark Minor, have closed in around her.
Some were at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where 10-year-old Ryan Minor died Thursday morning. Ryan and his brother Ross, 8, who was in critical condition Thursday, had both been shot in the head.
In Grace Minor's comfortable Wesley Chapel subdivision, Price Mill, neighbors held a private meeting Thursday about the shootings and declined media interviews.
Members of St. Matthew Catholic Church, where Grace Minor worshiped with her sons and where the boys attended school last year, prayed together Thursday, asking the media to stay away.
The hospital released a statement from Grace Minor late Thursday:
"Grace Minor and family wish to express their gratitude for all the thoughts and prayers from the community. We continue to pray for the recovery of Ross. During these difficult times the family requests the right to mourn privately."
The hospital, at the family's request, has also stopped releasing updates on Ross's condition. He was in the hospital's pediatric intensive care wing Thursday morning.
A search warrant released Thursday described Mark Minor, 44, as distraught over the pending breakup of his marriage. And an exclusive interview with a former fiancee of his told of a controlling, threatening relationship.
The search warrant gave this account of the shootings, based on the investigation and investigators' interviews with Grace Minor:
Minor, a city of Monroe gas department employee and avid hunter, had been up all night upset about a pending separation. He asked his wife not to leave, the warrant says, but she refused to stay.
At 7:20 a.m. Wednesday, Grace Minor was on the first floor of the couple's home when she heard gunshots upstairs. She ran upstairs, where she saw her husband with a handgun. Dashing into the two bedrooms of her children, the warrant said, she discovered their injured bodies and heard another shot.
She found her husband dead in another room, the warrant said. Authorities say Mark Minor was the only assailant and they do not believe Grace Minor was involved in any way.
Also released Thursday was a short excerpt from Grace Minor's frantic 911 call.
"He shot my children, and himself," she screamed.
First responders found both boys still alive, and rushed them to the hospital in Charlotte.
The Minors married 11 years ago in Mecklenburg County, about a year after they moved from Virginia Beach, Va. Months before, Mark Minor's former fiancee says she had abruptly ended their relationship, just before they were to be married.
Natalie Taylor said she lived with Mark Minor in Virginia in the early 1990s, when she was a young schoolteacher looking to get married and start a family of her own.
But Taylor said she came to learn that Minor was possessive and controlling, especially with money, which he methodically saved, Taylor said.
"He worked so hard for what he had, so when something was his, it was `mine, mine, mine,' " Taylor said.
Taylor, who has since married, said Minor threatened to take the couple's shared belongings away from her and destroyed some of them.
She said he would threaten to take her car away if she left him, and ripped her necklace off once during a fight about breaking up.
Minor would follow her places and call her school to make sure she was where she said she'd be, Taylor said. After Minor's regular hunting trips, he'd order his fiancee, a self-professed animal lover, to skin the deer he killed.
Taylor said she still held out hope the two could build their lives together.
Then one day, after a long day at work, Taylor hugged a male co-worker goodbye. Minor drove up, Taylor said, and told her he'd been watching her -- through the crosshairs of a gun scope.
With the help of her family, Taylor left the couple's shared home that day.
"I don't know how I got to where I did," Taylor says of the relationship. "I just got sucked into his game. I did whatever he said."
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