Cheerleading coach victim in murder-suicide at police station

GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - Gastonia police are investigating what might have led to a murder-suicide at their police headquarters early Sunday morning.

The victims were found in the parking lot of the Gastonia Police Department at 2:50 a.m.

An officer noticed the brake lights were activated on a 2009 Hyundai Sante Fe. When the officer approached the vehicle to check on the driver, he found two people dead inside.

Sergeant Jimmy Arndt said it appeared the driver, Randall Newman, 45, of 420 Deerwood Drive of Gastonia, shot and killed his wife, Laura Williams Newman, 47, before taking his own life.

Arndt said Randall Newman had been suffering from depression.

The police report said the incident happened sometime between 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:49 a.m. on Sunday.

Lauren Newman had been with Ashbrook High School for five years and was a Varsity Cheerleading Coach. For the past three years, Newman was a teacher in the Learning Academy.

On Monday, Gaston County Schools Spokeswoman Bonnie Reidy said 14 trained grief counselors were on hand at the school. A statement was read to all of the students before school started Monday morning.

About a hundred people met in the school cafeteria on Sunday to talk about the tragedy, and to discuss what type of memorial they will have for Lauren Newman.

Page Carver, who is the principal at the school, released the following statement:

The Ashbrook staff and students are deeply saddened by this tragic news. We send our condolences and sympathy to the family.

Ms. Laura Newman was an integral part of the Ashbrook family, and she was loved by everyone.

She was the cheerleader coach and an assistant in our high school smaller learning community. She worked closely with our cheerleader's and their parents and was an important part of Ashbrook's sports activities. She chaperoned our cheerleaders at Ashbrook sports events. She drove the bus for the basketball team. We are grief-stricken over this heartbreaking news. Coach Newman will be missed by all of us.

The Gaston County Schools Grief Counseling team will be at Ashbrook on Monday to work with the students and staff.

We appreciate the media being sensitive to what our students and staff are going through during this tragedy.

Very little is known about Randall Newman, but we do know he worked as a building inspector for Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement.

The couple have a daughter and son. The daughter is currently in college at UNC-Charlotte and the son is a student at Ashbrook High School.

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