Washington man shot to death at Greenville airport

Published 3:34 pm Monday, December 17, 2018

GREENVILLE — A suspect faces first-degree murder charges after a Washington man was shot to death at the Pitt-Greenville Airport Sunday.

Officers responding to the 6 a.m. call found Washington resident Joseph Pate, age 52, suffering from gunshot wounds, according to a press release from the Greenville Police Department. Pate, who was scheduled to depart on a 7 a.m. flight, died at the scene.

John Wesley Reid, age 49, of 2496 Pulmosa Drive in Grimesland, was taken into custody at the scene and charged with first-degree murder. Reid was taken into custody without incident, according to GPD Capt. Chris Ivey. Aside from the fatal injuries suffered by Pate, no one else was harmed during the shooting or response.

The 11 a.m. Sunday flight out of Pitt-Greenville was cancelled, but the airport resumed normal operations after law enforcement and airport staff determined that there was no ongoing threat to public safety.

The GPD is working closely with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and the Pitt-Greenville Airport management and staff, according to the release.

“The Pitt-Greenville Airport staff and management were out there coordinating with TSA (U.S. Transportation Security Administration),” Ivey said. “Anytime you have something at an airport, they have to make notification on a higher level through the airline system. American Airlines had to talk to TSA and they had to evaluate the safety of the airport to make sure that they could continue with operations.”

The weapon used in Pate’s killing was a handgun, according to the release.

“We really don’t know what the motive was,” Ivey said. “We do know that the gentleman worked together.”

In his first court appearance Monday, Reid was ordered held in the Pitt County Detention Center under a $2 million bond.