Andrew Dys

From Rock Hill to Charleston – death by gunshots always the same

A sign on the public access doors at the York County office building where Anna Moore worked as an assistant county manager. Investigators say Moore’s husband, Randy Eugene Moore, shot her, her son and her son’s girlfriend – and then himself – on Sunday.
A sign on the public access doors at the York County office building where Anna Moore worked as an assistant county manager. Investigators say Moore’s husband, Randy Eugene Moore, shot her, her son and her son’s girlfriend – and then himself – on Sunday. adys@heraldonline.com

There is a sign on the public access doors at the York County office building where Anna Moore worked as an assistant county manager.

The same sign is on the doors at the Moss Justice Center, which houses criminal courts and the sheriff’s office, where police announced Tuesday that Randy Eugene Moore used a gun Sunday to shoot his wife, Anna Moore, her son, and her son’s girlfriend.

The sign reads: “No firearms allowed.” It includes the image of a handgun, with a red circle around the gun and a red line through it.

Guns are not allowed in those places because guns are used to shoot and kill.

Additionally, The Herald found out Wednesday through federal court records and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons that Randy Moore had two felony convictions – one drug-related and the other for bank fraud. He served time in federal prison for the bank fraud and violating his federal probation, records show.

Those convictions meant that, under federal law, it was illegal for Moore to possess any guns or ammunition – whether he owned them or not.

Yet he did possess the gun and the bullets – and police say he used both to kill three people and then himself.

Just 20 yards away from where the sheriff’s spokesman stood, just inside the Moss Justice Center, is a metal detector used to find guns. Twenty yards the other way is a spot where, in 2001, a man named Michael Sean Godfrey stood with a gun.

Godfrey, waiting to go to court because he was having problems with his ex, executed her right there in the parking lot. He shot her grandmother, too. Right in the face.

The gun was legal.

The killings were not. Godfrey will die in prison.

Just last year, guns used in domestic violence showed the worst of York County.

In July 2014, Ronald Fred Gregory pleaded guilty in the same Moss Justice Center to shooting his invalid wife and granddaughter months before in Rock Hill. Gregory used a gun not just to kill his defenseless wife, Barbara, but he then climbed into bed with his granddaughter, Mia Rodgers, and shot her, too.

Gregory listened to his granddaughter beg for help as she lay dying for an hour.

After Mia died, Gregory shot himself twice in the chest in an attempt to kill himself. But he survived, and now will die in prison.

Gregory used a gun purportedly kept in the home to defend himself and his property to carry out the worst killings in memory.

These “No firearms allowed” signs are up in the courthouse – where there will be no death penalty trial in this latest shooting – and the county administration building – where Anna Moore worked – and at police stations and courthouses in York, Chester and Lancaster where police arrest people and prosecutors put them in prison.

They are up largely for one simple reason: because guns maim and kill.

Guns no different than the gun used by a white racist named Dylann Roof to kill nine black people in a church in Charleston last month. Roof is looking down the barrel of the death penalty, as he should be.

Guns no different than the one used by a Rock Hill man named Donquavious Davis to shoot down a romantic rival in Rock Hill a year ago – a case in which Davis pleaded guilty in a Moss Justice Center courtroom just days ago. He faces 15 to 50 years in prison for a such a stupid, mean gun killing.

Randy Eugene Moore in 2006 was convicted in that same Moss Justice Center courthouse for conspiring to obtain narcotic painkillers. Moore called a pharmacy to try to get the painkillers, claiming a doctor had prescribed them.

Moore’s crime was a misdemeanor, for which he spent 90 days in jail – served on weekends – and served 18 months’ probation, court records show.

A conviction for triple murder likely would have meant the death penalty for Randy Eugene Moore – except he did not choose to face the legal system after executing three people with a gun.

Chester County Sheriff Alex Underwood has been shot by a violent felon, so he knows what guns can do. Some people will call the Moore shootings in neighboring York County a tragedy, he said – but it is not.

“What happened is, this guy with a gun committed a triple homicide,” Underwood said. “That is not a tragedy. That is a mass killing. That is the crime of murder, times three.”

Underwood is not anti-gun. The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution. He has been a sportsman his whole life, trained in the use of firearms.

But with guns comes responsibility, he said, and he knows that, so far this year, more than 6,400 people in America have died thanks to guns.

Moore was not responsible when he took a gun and shot his wife, her son, and her son’s girlfriend. By any definition, it was an execution. By any legal measure, Moore is a killer who would have been arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.

But Moore took what Underwood called “the coward’s way out.”

He killed himself – using a gun for that, too.

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065 •  adys@heraldonline.com

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