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Authorities: Man assaults instructor, wife, kills self

By Shavonne Walker


ROCKWELL  — A Rockwell man who authorities say attacked a Rowan-Cabarrus Community College instructor this weekend killed himself three days after the incident.

Chad Wayne Kirkman, 46, shot himself Tuesday afternoon at his home in the Huntington Ridge subdivision.

He was a Rowan-Cabarrus Community College nursing student taking classes at the North Carolina Research Campus location and assaulted an instructor at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center where students were participating in clinicals, college officials said.

Kirkman held the instructor against her will, the college said. According to N.C. law, that constitutes kidnapping.

A statement from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said Kirkman “became unruly and caused a disturbance after threatening the instructor.”

An arrest warrant said he told the instructor, Michelle Zimmerman, “it would take six to put her in her coffin” and he also shoved a “cross pendant in her face and against her arm and asked if it burned.”

He was charged with second-degree kidnapping, misdemeanor communicating threats and misdemeanor assault on a female.

He was placed in the Rowan County Detention Center and later released after posting a bond.

On Monday Kirkman assaulted his wife, Traci, and warrants were again issued for his arrest.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said there were unsuccessful attempts to arrest Kirkman on Monday evening and officers continued to check the area throughout the night.

Officers believed Kirkman returned home, and based on his behavior, authorities made the decision to use a robot owned by the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office to make entry into the home.

Once inside the residence, authorities said, it was determined Kirkman was dead from a gunshot wound.

All immediate neighbors to the Kirkmans were notified in person before the warrant service attempt was made. A reverse 911 call was sent out to the remainder of the neighborhood prior to the event, the sheriff’s office said.

No helicopters that were law enforcement related were in the area, officials said. A National Guard helicopter that had no involvement in this incident did fly over.

The area schools were notified prior to the event and informed that the roads would be blocked for this development, said Sheriff Kevin Auten.

It was left up to the schools to contact parents of the children riding buses who live in the neighborhood. The Kirkman family was in a safe location and in constant contact with law enforcement during this event, Auten said.

He said this incident was not a hostage situation, but a high risk warrant service in which the suspect was considered armed and dangerous.

All attempts were made to ensure the safety of the community during this situation, the statement said.

“This is a tragic situation and I am sure the family is dealing with a very difficult time,” Auten said.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College officials issued an email message to students, staff and faculty Monday as a warning that Kirkman was to be considered dangerous and was not allowed on campus. Kirkman was “at large,” according to the warning, which was issued just after 4 p.m.

RCCC spokeswoman Paula Dibley said the message was sent in compliance with the Clery Act. The act requires that whenever there is a campus crime that presents an ongoing threat to the campus community, colleges and universities must provide a timely warning about the crime in and around the campus.

The warning was canceled Tuesday just before 4:30 p.m. with a message saying the “individual no longer poses a threat to the college.”

Kirkman had worked as a pilot for US Air & DHL and was a licensed contractor.
Post reporter Rebecca Rider contributed to this story.



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