The wife of a Wilmington man shot and killed at an abandoned lumber mill in Bladen County over the weekend is speaking out about his death.
"He was just such a great man. He loved his kids. He was so funny. We would laugh all time. He loved me so much," said Tara Thau on Wednesday as tears poured down her face.
Thau's husband, 34-year-old Allen W. Blanchard, died at New Hanover Regional Medical Center on Monday, two days after he was shot in the head during a confrontation at the Squires Timber mill off NC 210 near Kelly.
Sheriff's officials said David Wayne Gore, 57, the owner of Gore Marine in Wilmington, received a tip that a $200,000 boat stolen from his shop earlier in the week had been spotted in Bladen County.
According to the Bladen County Sheriff's Office, Gore arrived at the lumber mill and found Blanchard and another man, 33-year-old Ryan Ciro Thau of Wilmington, loading scrap metal into a truck. Ryan Thau is Blanchard's brother in law.
Authorities said Gore confronted the men and shot Blanchard, who was airlifted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in critical condition. Ryan Thau was not injured during the incident.
Sheriff's officials later confirmed that Blanchard and Ryan Thau had no connection to the stolen boat, but Ryan Thau was charged Saturday with felony larceny after the property owners said no one had permission to be at Squires Timber, where the shooting happened.
“The owners of Squires Timber did not know any of the individuals involved and did not know they were on the property and had given no one permission to be on the property,” Bladen County Sheriff James McVicker said.
Tara Thau and Blanchard had been together 11 years before his life was taken the weekend before Christmas.
"He kissed me on my forehead and he said he would be back by 1 o'clock. By 2 o'clock, I knew something was wrong," Tara Thau explained. "I got the call and I fell to the floor screaming in disbelief."
Ryan Thau recalled how Blanchard was an avid New York Giants fan who loved his family and had a passion for trucks and cars. Thau said he and Blanchard were hired to collect scrap metal and had nothing to do with the stolen boat.
"I still can't believe this happened. I wake up screaming every night. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time," Ryan Thau said. "I was one foot away from (Blanchard) when he was shot, and I held his head while he was bleeding. The entire incident has given me nightmares.
"I told Mr. Gore that day we had nothing to do with it. I said, 'I am sorry about your circumstance but check everything. We don't have the boat.'"
Gore was initially arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. Larry Guyton with the Bladen County Sheriff's Office said murder charges will now be filed against Gore.
"This was the worst Christmas ever. We have a 9-year-old and a 4-year-old and a baby boy on the way, so how do I explain this to my kids?" Tara Thau asked.
Gore is expected to make his first court appearance Thursday.
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