"We believe a killer is off the streets," said Reggie Lloyd, director of South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division.
Lloyd said ballistic tests connect the gun found on a suspect in Gaston County, North Carolina, to five killings in Gaffney that began in June. The dead suspect and his vehicle also appeared to match descriptions circulated by investigators in Gaffney, he said.
Gaston County is about 33 miles northeast of Gaffney, South Carolina.
Police in Cherokee County, which includes Gaffney, had issued a basic description of the killer and said he might be driving a Ford Explorer from the early 1990s.
Video from outside the home in North Carolina on Monday showed a vehicle that seemed to match that general description. Video Watch Lloyd say why police think they've got their man »
Early Monday, in Dallas, which is part of Gaston County, police received a call about a possible burglary in progress, police said. When they entered the residence, they found two people who lived there and a third who "was an acquaintance," police said.
"A second check on the suspect individual uncovered an outstanding warrant" from nearby Lincoln County, police said. "Officers attempted to serve the outstanding warrant when the suspect pulled a gun and fired at officers. Officers returned fire killing the suspect."
One officer was shot in the leg and was treated and released from a hospital, police said.
The killer's latest victim was 15-year-old Abby Tyler, who was shot last week and died Saturday. Her father, Stephen Tyler, 48, had been pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting, in their family-run furniture and appliance store. See a map of where the bodies were found »
In an interview Monday on CNN's "American Morning," Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton said investigators have determined "through evidence" that the five killings are linked. Authorities are not giving details about the evidence.
"We don't have a current motive or connection between the murders," said Blanton. "With a community this small, it's very possible I knew all the victims, and it's possible that all the victims knew each other. But we don't have any information right now that links the killer to [them]."
The first shooting occurred June 27, when peach farmer Kline W. Cash, 63, was killed. His wife found him dead in their home, the sheriff's office said.
Blanton said Cash's home may have been robbed.
Four days later, the bound and shot bodies of Hazel Linder, 83, and her 50-year-old daughter, Gena Linder Parker, were found in the Linders' home, where she lived alone.
Blanton said authorities are still trying to determine if anything was taken from that home.
About 100 investigators from North and South Carolina were working the case, Blanton said.
Well ~*~that's~*~ good news...