7:05 PM EDT, October 2, 2012
A Shelbyville family is grieving after one of their own became a victim of violence out of state.
Police in Cherokee, N.C., are searching for the person who took the life of 76-year-old Barbara Preidt, a beautician and business owner who liked to travel and was the proud grandmother of 20 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren
Mary Kay Cortelyou lives just a few doors down from John and Barbara Preidt. She said she was shocked when she learned her neighbor was been killed.
Police in cherokee said Preidt was shot and killed in the parking lot at the Fairfield Inn & Suites just before 10 p.m. last Sunday night.
Police said she and her husband John had just pulled in to the hotel when a person wearing dark clothes and a mask grabbed Barbara's purse. The suspect then pulled out a weapon, fired shots then took off in a truck.
Investigators said they are not sure where the Preidts were before the shooting, but it's possible they were there visiting the area's main tourist attraction-- the Harrah's Cherokee Casino directly across the street from the hotel and may have been targeted by the suspect.
"I can see how something like that can happen, especially if they had been at the casino and won money."
Police are hoping surveillance cameras from the hotel and the casino will provide more information on the suspect, but right now they have very little to go on. Police are offering a $5000 reward.
Visitation for Barbara Preidt is this Thursday and funeral services are scheduled for Friday in Shelbyville.