By Debra Cassens Weiss
Updated: A North Carolina personal injury lawyer who was shot and killed by a client Monday died while trying to save others, the managing partner of his law firm says.
Police identified the slain lawyer as Patrick White, 42, of Raleigh, North Carolina, report WTVD and WRAL.
The shooting happened at the Goldsboro, North Carolina, office of Riddle & Brantley.
Law firm founder and managing partner Gene Riddle said White died while “saving us,” and he had “sacrificed himself,” CBS 17 reports.
Other publications that spoke with Riddle include WITN and WRAL.
The suspect was identified as Francisco Cazarin Sanchez, 46, of Greenville, North Carolina. He fatally shot himself after killing White, police said.
Riddle said the suspect and his wife were at the law firm Monday for a mediation with White. Riddle was assisting. Late in the afternoon, the couple asked to speak alone. White and Riddle went into the attorneys’ quarters, Riddle said.
“The next thing I know, I see a figure come into the attorneys’ quarters, and I hear a loud shot and the glass breaking; I knew he had shot, I saw the gun,” Riddle told WRAL.
Riddle was first targeted by the shooter with two shots that missed. Riddle tripped and fell backward. When he got up, he saw the shooter had turned his attention to White.
“Patrick yelled his name to stop and pushed him against the wall, and within seconds, there was another gunshot and Patrick fell to the ground,” Riddle told WRAL. “He is our hero. It is the way he lived his entire life.”
The shooter then went to the reception area, where he shot himself in the head, according to Riddle’s interview with CBS 17.
Riddle & Brantley posted a statement that read in part: “Patrick was a skilled lawyer and a devoted, loving husband and father. His strong work ethic and dedication to excellence were coupled with genuine warmth and kindness. Patrick’s commitment to the service of others and engaging personality endeared him to all. In his passing, Patrick displayed selfless courage in the face of unprovoked senseless violence. His heroic, decisive intervention averted further tragedy. The firm sincerely appreciates the overwhelming output of love and support we have received from friends and the community.”
White’s law firm biography said he received his law degree from the West Virginia University College of Law, and he has been practicing law since 2005. He is survived by a wife and two children.
In a YouTube video, White said he and his wife had practiced law at the same firm in West Virginia. They moved to North Carolina when she decided to attend a seminary.
It has been “a wonderful thing” to live in North Carolina and experience its residents’ warm hospitality, he said.
Updated Dec. 21 at 8:50 a.m. to report on Patrick White’s actions by Riddle & Brantley founder and managing partner Gene Riddle.