A Gaston County man is charged with murder after authorities say he fatally shot and stabbed his stepfather after an apparent dispute over a car.
Matthew Safrit, 21, is also accused of assault with a deadly weapon after his mother was cut during the attack. He was being held without bond Saturday in the Cleveland County jail.
The man killed was identified as Nathan Scott Cloninger, 41, of Matthews. His wife, Jennifer Cloninger, who is also Safrit’s mother, was treated at an area hospital for her injuries.
The incident occurred around 3:30 p.m. Friday outside a mobile home on Sam Latimore Road near Shelby. Authorities say Safrit, who has a Cramerton address, was visiting a female friend at the Cleveland County residence.
Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman said authorities believe the Cloningers had gone to the residence to recover a car that Safrit had borrowed from them. Jennifer Cloninger had retrieved the car keys and the couple was attempting to leave when Safrit allegedly walked out of the residence and began firing a gun.
Nathan Cloninger was struck multiple times, the sheriff said. He said Safrit went back into the home before emerging a second time with a knife. Safrit then allegedly stabbed his stepfather and mother, Norman said.
The couple was taken to an area hospital where Nathan Cloninger was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
Norman said Safrit tried to flee the scene, but was found in a wooded area near the mobile home by a sheriff K-9. The suspect allegedly hit the dog multiple times with his fist before deputies could subdue him, the sheriff said.
Norman called it “extremely fortunate” that the K-9 was able to locate the suspect, saying he would be concerned about a “desperate active shooter” being in the neighborhood. “You just don’t know what this guy was capable of,” the sheriff said.
Norman said Safrit also faces charges of assault on a sheriff K-9, and jail records show he is accused of possession of a firearm by a felon. He’s expected to appear in court on Monday.