Vicious shooting at nursing home leaves seven residents, one staff member dead

CARTHAGE, N.C. – The nurse’s assistant who may have been the target of a deadly nursing home rampage in North Carolina survived by hiding in a bathroom inside a locked area for Alzheimer’s patients, her mother said yesterday. Margaret Neal said her daughter Wanda is ‘devastated’ by the alleged actions of her estranged husband, Robert Stewart, who authorities believe killed seven residents and a nurse during Sunday’s attack. She believes Stewart was after her daughter, who was safe behind the passcode-protected doors of the Alzheimer’s care unit as he allegedly shot up the home’s hallways. ‘She said she hid in the bathroom. She was close to him,’ Neal said in an interview with The Associated Press. ‘The reason he didn’t get to her was because he didn’t know the code.’ Neal said her daughter left Stewart about a month ago and moved back to a home on the Neal family property, about half an hour from the site of the shootings in Carthage. She said Stewart had a tendency to grow violent, although she said Wanda usually kept quiet about the details of their marriage. ‘He had a rage,’ Neal said. ‘It would just explode over everything. He would be good and then something would just set him off.’ Authorities have said they are investigating whether Stewart’s rampage was ‘domestic-related.’ Prosecutors have declined to comment more specifically on a possible motive, but have said his actions were not a random act of violence. Moore County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Neil Godfrey said yesterday that detectives have yet to complete a full interview with Stewart, a burly painter nicknamed ‘Pee Wee’ by his hunting buddies. Stewart remains in a prison hospital. Among the many witnesses they have spoken with is his wife, identified by a neighbor as using the name Wanda Luck, but he declined to comment on what she told detectives.