Harrisburg victim's family: Motive might never be known

Dan Kirchner, bottom right, was shot and killed by his neighbor last Friday.

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by STEVE LYTTLE / Charlotte Observer

WCNC.com

Posted on April 4, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 4 at 6:01 PM

HARRISBURG, N.C. -- The family of one of two men killed by a neighbor last week in Harrisburg says the motive behind the shootings might never be known.

In a statment issued Thursday morning, the family of Dan Kirchner noted speculation that the violence in the Windsor Forest neighborhood might have resulted from a dispute over the cutting down of trees.

But the family said in the statement, “Many have suspected the shooter was angry about a landscaping project, but we want to make it clear in no uncertain terms, that simply is not the case.”

Kirchner, 42, and Gary Stocks, 64, were shot and killed Friday afternoon by Anthony Hardy, who lived between the two men on Coachman Court, in the Windsor Forest neighborhood. Hardy later shot and killed himself during a standoff that evening with Cabarrus County sheriff’s deputies.

In the statement, the family said there was no apparent motivation for the shooting.

“What is known is that Gary, along with the shooter, entered the Kirchners’ yard on Friday afternoon; shortly thereafter with no words exchanged Dan and Gary were shot and killed,” Kitchner’s family said.

In the days since the shootings, some neighbors had speculated that Hardy might have been angry because the neighborhood homeowners’ association recently had arranged for pine trees to be cut done. Some of those trees were behind Hardy’s house, and Kirchner was president of the homeowners’ group.

But in the statement, Kirchner’s family said “the motivation behind this heinous act will likely never be known, and is certainly beyond comprehension.”

The funeral service for Stocks is this afternoon at Providence Baptist Church in Harrisburg. Kirchner’s funeral Mass will be Friday morning at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, near UNC Charlotte.

The statement from Kirchner’s family said the two victims and Stocks had not disagreed on cutting down the pine trees.

“The men were in one accord in the matter, and the shooter took advantage of the work the HOA was having done to get work done on his property at a greatly reduce(d) rate.”

Kirchner’s family said it is grateful for the support of neighbors in Windsor Park and elsewhere in Harrisburg and thanked the Harrisburg Fire Department and the Cabarrus sheriff’s office for its help.

Asking for privacy during the time of grieving, the family said, “Dan Kirchner was a great man who will be dearly missed by his family and friends.”

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