KURE BEACH — The man who shot and killed his neighbor in Kure Beach last Tuesday admitted to the crime on a 911 call, recordings reveal.
“I just killed my neighbor,” shooter William Bennett, 61, told the 911 dispatcher at 2:48 p.m. on May 17.
The Kure Beach Police Department responded to reports of shots fired at Ocean View Avenue around 2:30 p.m. At the scene, officers found John Garisto, 55, lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds. Police said the two were in a dispute prior to the shooting.
“I had enough of this guy,” Bennett said to the dispatcher before he described the situation leading up to the fatal shots.
He said he and Garisto had “kept the peace” since November 2021. Then he claimed Garisto was feeding foxes in front of his house, so he called animal control earlier that day.
The day of the shooting Bennet said he was returning from a store and saw Garisto “flipping [him] off” and calling him an “asshole.”
Bennett said he shot Garisto five times in his mid-section with an AR-556.
“I’m military, so that’s where I aim,” Bennett said.
People in the area began calling 911 to report hearing shots shortly after 2 p.m., recordings detail. One caller said she could hear arguing from inside her home near the incident and reported hearing three to four gunshots from a street over, but no sign of a victim or shooter.
“There’s a crazy guy, he shot someone I believe,” another caller said from the scene.
After approaching Garisto, the same caller said she thought he was dead. The call continued another seven minutes, with only loud cries and bits of conversation heard from the caller on the line.
Bennett told the 911 dispatcher he did not want to go to jail.
“I’m not sure whether I’m going to be taken alive or not,” Bennett said.
The dispatcher asked what he meant.
“I’ll just do myself in. I’m not going to prison,” Bennett said.
The dispatcher encouraged Bennett to talk to the police, but he refused. The last thing Bennett said on the phone was “you know what, I’m done.”
The rest of the almost four-hour call was silent.
While attempting lifesaving measures on Garisto, police reported hearing a single gunshot from Bennett’s residence. Kure Beach police and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Unit entered the residence and found Bennett deceased.
Kure Beach police believe the incident was isolated.
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