Erick Shute, vocalist of New York death metal band Pyrexia, has been arrested and is accused of murdering three individuals. Following a dispute over firewood, Shrute allegedy ambushed them from behind a tree and fired upon the unsuspecting men, killing three of them. Shute has claimed that the incident was in self defense in a post that he made on his Facebook page.
According to Herald Mail Media, the men were using a chainsaw to gather firewood on an adjacent property when they the shooting took place. Those confirmed dead include Jack Douglas of Great Cacapon, and Travis Bartley and Willie Bartley of Hedgesville, West Virginia, while a fourth victim was able to escape unharmed and alert officials. When deputies arrives on the scene, the three men were found deceased, but Shute had fled the scene. What followed was an eight hour manhunt, finally ending in Pennsylvania.
Morgan County Sheriff Vince Shambaugh stated that “[Shute] took cover behind a tree and shot these people ambush-style,” and that an AR-15 was the weapon used. Shambaugh also described Shute as a “sovereign citizen,” someone who doesn’t recognize state or federal law, who was preparing for a sort of world catastrophe. Stockpiles of food, weapons, and ammunition were also found on Shute’s property. Shambaugh also stated that “He put out rumors about Claymore mines,” and that there were rumours that the bunkers on the properties might have been boobie trapped. It is also being reported that there have been property disputes between those involved, and that is what may have led up to the attack.
Following the attack, Shute had made multiple posts on his Facebook page, which have since been removed.
“This was self defense. I talked to a cop and he even agreed this is an open and shut case of self defense and that they probably won’t even pursue charges” I am just waiting to talk to the prosecutor. I have nothing to hide. Media can contact me on my cell. I am open to talk. These guys stole over $20,000 pf [sic] of my stuff and sold it for drugs and threatened me to my face before. They even unscrewed [sic] brake lines while [I] was asleep. Everyone not on drugs on the mountain hates them. These are known thieves and drug addicts.”
UPDATE: Pyrexia issued a statement expressing their shock and sadness, also clarifying that he hasn’t been in the band for several years
Other sites have reported that Shute’s Facebook page features anti-government, pro-survivalist imagery and links. The band last released an album in 2013. It should be noted that the AR-15 that Shute used to kill the three men, was a similar style weapon used by the Orlando shooter [Sig Sauer MCX] in Sunday’s attack on the Pulse nightclub, the deadliest terror attack in the United States since September 11th. It was banned in the States from 1994-2004, and it’s estimated that there are several million of them in the United States.
(photo via Shute’s Facebook page)