Crime & Courts

Gaston County police investigate fatal shooting

An altercation between two Gaston County women preceded the fatal shooting of the husband of one of the brawlers, authorities said Friday.

The shooting was reported a little after 8 p.m. Thursday in the 500 block of Wilmot Trail just south of Gastonia, Gaston County police Sgt. Steve Dover said.

Officers assisted a bystander with CPR on the shooting victim, Robert Benjamin Putnam, 47. Putnam, who lived at another house on Wilmot Trail, was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities said the shooting was the result of an altercation earlier in the day in Gastonia between Putnam’s wife, Cecelia Putnam, and Linda Salazar. Police are still working to learn what prompted the first altercation, Dover said.

After the first fight, the Putnams went to the house on Wilmot Trail where Salazar and her boyfriend, James Haney Sr., live. That’s when another altercation broke out involving an assault on Salazar, police said.

Police said Haney shot Robert Putnam with a handgun, which was recovered at the scene.

The investigation is continuing, police said, and the district attorney’s office will be consulted regarding whether charges will be filed.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 704-866-3320.

Bell: 704-358-5696;

Twitter: @abell

Fatal shooting