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November 2, 2009

(11:11 a.m.) NC Store Shootings

ALYSIA PATTERSON,Associated Press Writer

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (AP) — Police arrested a convicted kidnapper early Monday in the fatal shooting of four men in the town that inspired the idyllic community of Mayberry on the 1960s TV series "The Andy Griffith Show."

Marcos Chavez Gonzalez was charged with four counts of murder in the slayings late Sunday outside Woods TV in Mount Airy, about 100 miles north of Charlotte, police said.

The town, population 8,700, is the hometown of Andy Griffith and has built a tourist trade on nostalgia for the show that continues to thrive in syndication.

The four were shot in the shadow of a water tower that says "Welcome to Mount Airy" and has a picture of Griffith and Opie, his son on the show.

"This is Mayberry ... Andy Griffith's house is in spitting distance here," said Michael Wood, one of the owners of Woods TV.

Police do not believe the shootings were random, but Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson said they did not plan to release a motive.

Gonzalez, 29, was arrested without incident at a motel about 50 miles northeast of the town, Henry County, Va., Sheriff Lane Perry said Monday. Gonzalez was unarmed when he surrendered just before 4 a.m. to officers who had surrounded the motel.

He was being held in the Henry County jail on charges that included being a fugitive from justice from North Carolina. He indicated he would not fight extradition, Perry said. Jail workers said it was not clear whether he had an attorney.

State prison records show Gonzalez was released more than two years ago after serving more than two years on a 2002 conviction for kidnapping a minor and a probation violation.

State records show the felony kidnapping charge required Gonzalez to register as a sex offender. North Carolina's post-release supervision of Gonzalez ended last November, Correction Department spokesman Keith Acree said.

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