The death of former Fremont Mayor Andy Evans has been ruled a homicide, Wayne County Sheriff Larry Pierce confirmed Monday evening.
"I cannot go into details how many times he was shot or where he was shot," Pierce said.
An autopsy, performed in N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, confirmed that Evans died from a gunshot wound. The results were released by Pierce just before 6 p.m.
The Wayne County Sheriff's Office and the State Bureau of Investigation are actively investigating the case as a homicide, after Evans was found dead by a family member at approximately 1:20 p.m. Saturday at his home at 129 Evans Farm Road, near Interstate 795. Pierce declined to say which family member found Evans at the home.
Sheriff deputies are pursuing leads in the case and have declined to provide details of the investigation surrounding the death of Evans. On Monday, sheriff deputies were stationed along the 100 block of Evans Farm Road where they stopped each vehicle, in an effort to gather information to assist in the investigation.
Evans' home also remains an active crime scene. A building adjacent to the Evans home is surrounded by yellow crime scene tape, and a deputy cruiser is parked near the front of the building. Pierce declined to offer details regarding where Evans was found on the property Saturday.
The death of Evans, who served as the mayor of Fremont from 1998 to 2003, has gripped the northern Wayne County town of nearly 1,250 residents. Many people didn't want to talk about Evans' tragic death that brought shock, disbelief and grief to the small-town, close-knit community. Public officials in other nearby towns and cities, including Wilson, also learned about Evans' death over the weekend.
"He was always telling a joke," said Hank Stewart, a pharmacist at the Fremont Pharmacy on Main Street. "He was just here at the pharmacy last week."
Stewart graduated with Evans from Charles B. Aycock High School, in 1970, and knew Evans his entire life.
"Andy is going to be missed," Stewart said. "He was really a great man and a hardworking man. He was a big time farmer. This leaves a big hole in the community."
Mary Ingram, a store clerk at the Dollar General store on U.S. 117, said that Evans was just in the store on Friday.
"He came in and had that smile on his face, as he always does," she said. "He was his normal self -- talking and speaking to everyone. Andy never met a stranger."
Mayor Darron Flowers said he was in a Masonic Lodge meeting last week with Evans.
"He had a smile on his face and took part in the meeting, as he always did," Flowers said. "Andy was very interested in the community.
"When he was mayor, he took forward-thinking steps. Because of his leadership, the town is where it is today."
Evans also served on the Wayne Community College board of trustees.
"Wayne Community College sends its deepest condolences to Andy Evans' family," said Thomas Walker, Wayne Community College president. "We will hold them in our thoughts and prayers throughout this difficult time.
"Wayne County and Wayne Community College are better because Andy cared enough to serve. He was an example of devotion to the community and consistent improvement for the benefit of all sectors. His passing is truly a loss for all of us."
Anyone with information about the crime can call the Wayne County Sheriff's Office tip line at 919-705-1862, the SBI tip line at 1-800-334-3000 or Crime Stoppers at 919-735-2255 or text 919-735-2255. Callers will remain anonymous, and a cash reward is provided if an arrest results in charges.