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RCCC mourns tragic loss

AHOSKIE – The murder of one of their own has dazed and bewildered the faculty and staff here at Roanoke-Chowan Community College.

On Friday, many learned the fate of Catherine McCutcheon, RCCC’s former Director of Nursing who was shot and killed by her estranged husband, who then took his own life in a murder-suicide that occurred in the Tuscarora community south of  Winton.

“It was a mix of sadness and total shock when we were told what happened,” said RCCC President Dr. Ralph Soney. “We were sad when Catherine decided on Wednesday of last week to resign her position here and move on. And then, two days later, we are told that she has been murdered. What a shame, what a tragic, tragic loss; the entire RCCC family is devastated by this turn of events.”

Soney said McCutcheon joined RCCC three years ago and had spent the last two years as the college’s Nursing Program director. He added that he was surprised to receive her letter of resignation, one stating that she was leaving due to “personal reasons.”

“Catherine was a wonderful person to be around and we were proud of her accomplishments as the director of our nursing program,” Soney stated. “She was an extremely intelligent person, exactly what you would think of a person that had worked hard and obtained a Masters degree in Nursing from Duke University.”

Soney said McCutcheon came to RCCC from Craven Community College in New Bern where she was a nursing instructor.

He added that RCCC is already in the planning stages to honor McCutcheon.

“We will have an on campus memorial service shortly after our students come back to campus in August,” Soney stated. “I know this tragic death touches all of us here at RCCC, but especially our nursing students. We have about 30 coming back this year and each of them had their lives impacted in a positive manner by this woman.”

Soney said he also would like to have a college scholarship established in the name of McCutcheon’s five-year-old daughter, who was shot, but survived last week’s tragic incident.

“We are also strongly considering establishing a domestic violence institute here on campus, one dedicated to combating partner abuse and providing education concerning violent relationships and about interventions that can make women and their children safer from violence,” Soney said.

McCutcheon, 40, died Friday morning as the result of a gunshot wound to the chest during a domestic confrontation with her 56-year-old husband, James William McCutcheon Jr. The husband, after murdering his wife and shooting their daughter, committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot to his head.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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