Virginia Man Charged with Murdering Halls High School Security Guard

By: Gary Loe
By: Gary Loe

Knoxville (WVLT) - Police say the man suspected in the death of a Halls High School security officer is also wanted in the murder of an elderly Virginia man.

Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison and Knox County Schools Superintendent Charles Lindsey held a joint news conference to shed a little more light on Tuesday night's shooting death of the halls high school security guard.

39-year-old Carroll Oniel Lineberry of Galax, Virginia is now accused of two murders.

He's charged with one count of first degree murder in the death of Halls security officer Russ Kocur, and he's suspected in the stabbing death of 75-year-old Neil Hutton, also of Galax, Virginia.

Police say Lineberry was in possession of the elderly man's 1975 Buick when uniformed officer Kocur approached him in the halls high school parking lot last night just before 10:30.

Sheriff Hutchison says both Lineberry and Hutton were last seen in Galax, Virginia Sunday night.

The deceased man owned a gun, which family members say is missing.

Hutchison says Lineberry was only in Knoxville a short time.

He had a flat tire and was stranded at Halls High School.

Lineberry has no known connection to Knoxville and has an extensive criminal history, including distributing marijuana in a school zone, breaking and entering and assault and battery.

Police say officer Kocur, who was unarmed and not wearing a bullet proof vest, was shot by a .22 caliber revolver, probably after discovering the suspect had a gun.

"The guard was struck one time in the upper back...between the liver and the heart," says Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison.

Police don't have a motive or murder weapon in the Galax man's death. Lineberry's bond is set at $750,000.

Meantime, investigators will continue processing evidence to determine whether Lineberry is connected to other crimes.


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