Originally created 09/17/96

Husband of shooting victim `knew something was wrong'

Three South Carolina families were shattered after Monday's shooting at Department of Social Services offices in North Augusta.

James Curry was on his way home from work at about 3:30 p.m. when his pager went off. He pulled over into the Revco parking lot on Martintown Road and could see there was a commotion at the DSS offices where his wife worked.

A phone call to one of Mrs. Curry's co-workers brought the news that his wife of eight years had been shot.

"I heard the lady's voice and I knew something was wrong," Mr. Curry said.

Mrs. Curry later died at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Asked how he was handling the tragedy, Mr. Curry replied: "I ain't. I'm just here."

But, he added, he'd get plenty of support in the coming weeks.

"We've both got families that will stick by (me)," he said.

Mrs. Curry left behind two sons, Jamaal Curry, 5, and Jermaine Bettis, 11. By evening, a police search helicopter hovered overhead near the couple's Carpentersville Road home, which overlooks the DSS building. The couple's yard was filled with neighbors and relatives there to show support.

"You know, the saddest thing is every time they leave this home they've got to see that building," said Brenda Gordon, Mrs. Curry's cousin.

Mrs. Curry's niece, Deidria Curry, said she had talked to her aunt the day before about getting a job in the same DSS offices.

"I had just talked to her because she was going to get me a job right up in there . . . right up in there," Ms. Curry said, pointing in the direction of the building. "And I never got that phone call. We were supposed to have that conversation today."

In nearby Belvedere, neighbors of Michael Gregory were also talking about the tragedy.

They said Mr. Gregory, a DSS caseworker and deacon of First Baptist Church in Belvedere, had been a caring family man and hard worker.

He had lived with his wife, Monnie, and their two children, Paul, 2, and Heather, 9, in their Fairview Street home for about 12 years.

"He was a super nice fellow, a hard working fellow and he was a super daddy," said Blake Hall, son of Wanda Hall who lived across the street from the Gregory family.

"It's such a shock to us," said Mrs. Hall. "He will be greatly missed by us. We know he was a Christian and God called him home, even though it's hard for us to accept."

Lucy Negron, who rented a trailer from Mr. Gregory that was across the street for the past several months, said the same.

"He was apparently a religious person and a very nice person and a great father," she said.

James Riddle, 52, another caseworker who died late Monday, lived on West Martintown Road in North Augusta.

Family members did not return three phone calls to the home Monday.


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