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A cause of death investigation is underway in Columbus County

Robert Ransom Smith III, 67, suffered a fatal gunshot wound
Robert Ransom Smith III, 67, suffered a fatal gunshot wound
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 4:23 PM EDT
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CHADBOURN, N.C. (WECT) - Columbus County Sheriff’s Office has begun a death investigation after deputies who were investigating leads following a breaking and entering call in Chadbourn May 26, 2022, found a man dead from a gunshot wound.

Investigators heard the call about a gunshot wound while in the vicinity of Joe Brown Highway South.

Upon arrival at the home of Jeanette Duncan and her son Robert Smith IV, they found Duncan’s ex-husband, 67-year-old Robert Smith III, deceased. Law enforcement officials say Smith III was shot and killed while acting irate and trying to forcibly enter Duncan’s residence.

Two days earlier, on May 24, Smith III allegedly broke into the home and stole three firearms and some jewelry, according to law enforcement.

It is not clear whether Smith III was shot and killed by Duncan or her son, Smith IV.

Columbus County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigators are working to determine if the shooting was justified under NC’s stand your ground law.

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