The murder-suicide shootings of a veteran law enforcement officer and his estranged wife Friday night was preceded by violence and threats of suicide in recent months.
Granville County sheriff’s deputy Jeremy Shayne Pearce claimed he was the victim, according to documents filed two months ago at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office.
But police say he was armed with a handgun when he broke into a rear, glass door of the home where he shot his wife and then turned the weapon on himself as police approached.
Rebecka Jeanann Pearce called police just after 8:41 p.m. Friday to report a break-in at 1713 McLaurin Lane. When officers arrived two minutes later, they saw that someone had damaged the back door, and as they entered, they heard gunshots, according to the Fuquay-Varina Police Department.
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Jeremy Pearce, 34, and his estranged wife Rebecka, a 30-year-old North Raleigh hair stylist, both lay dead. Police found the couple’s two daughters, ages 8 months and 2, unharmed in a locked bedroom.
The fatal shootings marked the end of marital discord that became a matter for the Wake County courts on Sept. 19, when Jeremy Pearce filed a protective domestic violence order against his wife. He claimed that his wife had made threats to commit suicide and kill others if she could not have custody of their two daughters.
Rebecka Pearce “stated that if she didn’t have her kids, she would kill herself and has been dreaming about killing people,” Jeremy Pearce wrote in the court affidavit after he said his wife struck him in the nose and scratched both his arms.
“She was also talking in her sleep about killing other people,” Pearce wrote. He also said his wife suffered from a bipolar condition and anxiety and that she had taken an unknown quantity of prescribed medications and began vomiting. He signed a petition to have her involuntarily committed for mental health treatment, according to court affidavits.
Jeremy Pearce also wrote that his wife “has a valid carry and concealed permit” to own a handgun. “However I have removed the firearm she was using because of this incident,” he wrote.
A Wake County judge ordered Rebecka Pearce not to assault or harm her husband. She was not allowed contact with her children and was ordered to move out of the $240,000 home the couple purchased last year on Suncrest Village Lane in Wake Forest.
Rebecka Pearce moved in with her parents in Fuquay-Varina. When the protective order expired Sept. 23, she filed her own papers in district court seeking divorce, alimony, child support, equitable distribution of property and a temporary custody agreement that would allow the children to spend Mondays and Tuesdays with their father and Wednesdays and Thursdays with her. The parents would share custody of their daughters on alternate weekends.
On Sept. 30, a Wake County judge granted Rebecka Pearce’s petition for custody of her daughters but also extended her husband’s protective order until Oct. 6, court records show.
Rebecka Pearce worked as a stylist at Salon Blu on Falls of the Neuse Road, court records show.
Prior to working as a sheriff’s deputy in Granville County, Jeremy Pearce was a police officer in Wake Forest from September 2011 until September 2014, when he resigned to become a sheriff’s deputy, said town spokesman Bill Crabtree.