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Three Area Residents Dead in Jonas Ridge Monday Afternoon Shooting

By Tim Gardner

A domestic dispute has left three people dead following a Monday afternoon shooting in Jonas Ridge.

A call came in to Burke County Emergency Dispatch about the incident at approximately 5:30 p.m. on June 27, according to Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant. 

Authorities in Burke County immediately requested assistance from Avery County emergency medical and law enforcement personnel to respond to 6376 Rhododendron Run, where there were reports of gunfire at the residence there. 

Avery County emergency medical and law enforcement were asked for assistance because of the residence’s proximity to the Avery County line. They are based much closer– approximately half the driving distance– to where the incident occurred than medical and law enforcement units from Burke County.

Part of Jonas Ridge is in Burke County and the other part is in Avery County. In fact, the place where the shooting happened has a Newland address. 

Jonas Ridge is 20-plus miles North of Morganton, the county seat of Burke County. 

When Burke County deputies arrived at the scene, they found Avery County sheriff’s deputies, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and first responders at the scene where three people had been shot in a domestic dispute, according to a Burke Sheriff’s Department press release

Polly Ann Keller, age 56, of the home, died at the scene, the release said.

Emergency personnel attempted to transport Jeremy Dean Clark, age 32, of 7253 Parkway Road, Newland, and Anthony Simon Franklin, age 33, of 42 George White Lane, Newland, to Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville. However, both died during transport and were pronounced dead on arrival, the press release stated.

Medical personnel had made requests for air ambulance helicopters for patient transports, but law enforcement authorities said the victims died before an airlift could be conducted.

A preliminary investigation indicated two people fired shots during the incident, also according to the release.

The altercation is thought to be over a child custody dispute.

Sheriff Whisenant said there is no continued threat to public safety from this incident. 

Burke County detectives are continuing to investigate the situation and plan to present the case to the district attorney’s office once the investigation is complete, the release also indicated.

More information about the shooting will be released publicly as it becomes available.