Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Carthage Nursing Home Massacre

Dispatches From the Deadliest Mass Shooting in N.C. History

  • Updated
  • 0

Coverage of the massacre at Pinelake Nursing Home dominated the April 1, 2009 issue of The Pilot. (Photograph by Jaymie Baxley/The Pilot)

Nine years have passed since the mass shooting at a Carthage nursing home that still ranks as the deadliest single-day massacre in North Carolina's modern history. The rampage left eight people dead and briefly thrust Moore County into the national spotlight. Robert Stewart was convicted of the shooting in 2011. He is serving a 179-year sentence at the Caswell Correctional Center in Yanceyville. The following articles and many of the accompanying photographs were originally published in the April 1, 2009 issue of The Pilot. Each story explores a different aspect of the tragedy. The articles, several of which were previously unavailable on The Pilot's website, are presented here as they were in that day's newspaper and have not been revised. — Jaymie Baxley

Car Window.jpg

Home of Wanda Stewart’s mother seen through shot-out window of her car. (Photograph by Glenn Sides/The Pilot)

press conf.jpg

Town and county officials hold a press conference in Carthage. (Photograph by Glenn Sides/The Pilot)


Half Staff.jpg

A flag flies at half-staff at Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center in Carthage.  (Photograph by Glenn Sides/The Pilot)


Stewarts House.jpg

Bullet holes from apparent target practice riddle a barrel outside Robert Stewart’s home. (Photograph by Glenn Sides/The Pilot)


Robert Stewart 

Sunday Scene.jpg

Cordoned-off scene of the shooting a Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center.(Photograph by Glenn Sides/The Pilot)

Justin Garner.jpg

Justin Garner with wife Stephanie Garner after the Pinelake shooting. (Photograph by Glenn Sides/The Pilot)


From left: Jerry Avant Jr., Bessie Hendrick, Jesse Musser and Lillian Dunn in the photographs that accompanied their obituaries in the April 1, 2009 issue of The Pilot. (Contributed photographs)


Sheree Kelly of Sheree’s Flower Shoppe hangs a bow at Pinelake. (Photograph by Glenn Sides/The Pilot)

Dodson  jump.jpg

Carthage Mayor and Sheriff’s Deputy Ronnie Fields, Carthage Police Chief Chris McKenzie, Carthage Town Manager Carol Sparks and state Rep. Jamie Boles confer.  (Photograph by Steve Bouser/The Pilot)


Carthage Police Chief Chris McKenzie addresses a throng of state and national media during a press conference at the Carthage Fire Department. (Photograph by Steve Bouser/The Pilot)

Media Hype.jpg

More than a dozen satellite trucks belonging to television news crews lined up in the parking lot behind the Carthage Town Hall, where town and county officials were holding a press conference.  (Photograph by Steve Bouser/The Pilot)

Editorial Cartoon by Bruce Field.jpg

Editorial cartoon by Bruce Field/The Pilot

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Comments that violate any of the rules above are subject to removal by staff.

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. Subscribe today and support local community journalism.

Digital Only Subscriptions

The Pilot

Get unlimited digital access and support award-winning local journalism, for just 9.50 +tax a month. This includes access to the electronic replica edition of The Pilot.

Starting at
$10.17 for 30 days

Already a Print Subscriber? Get Digital Access Free.

The Pilot

As a print subscriber, you also have unlimited digital access. Connect your account now. Or, call customer service at 910-693-2487 for help.


Our system has been updated, if you are a current print subscriber and cannot obtain your unlimited access, please contact customer support 910-693-2490. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Free access for current print subscribers

Already have a Print Subscription? Get Digital Access Free.

The Pilot

As a print subscriber, you also have unlimited digital access. Connect your account now.

Home Delivery

The Pilot

Our best deal: Get all the news of Moore County delivered to your home each Wednesday and Sunday — and receive unlimited digital access to

Starting at
$80.25 for 365 days