Coroner rules former church official’s death a suicide

Coroner rules former church official's death a suicide

Morgan Hill – Preliminary results by the coroner affirm that
Gary Carter, 56, of Morgan Hill died of a self-inflicted gunshot
wound to his head Wednesday morning after he apparently committed
suicide near the railroad tracks between Wright and Central avenues
just north of downtown.
Morgan Hill – Preliminary results by the coroner affirm that Gary Carter, 56, of Morgan Hill died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head Wednesday morning after he apparently committed suicide near the railroad tracks between Wright and Central avenues just north of downtown.

The .40-caliber handgun that was found beneath his body was not registered in Carter’s name, but the Morgan Hill Police Department declined to say under whose name it is registered. They did say it was not reported stolen.

Carter was the business manager at Shadow Mountain Baptist Church located at 17810 Monterey Road, about 100 yards west of where Carter was discovered. According to police, he had attended a meeting with church staff Wednesday morning. Police described Carter as an “ex-employee” of the church.

Shadow Mountain Baptist Church Pastor Kyle Haynes was at the church’s office Thursday, but he and other church officials declined to comment about the incident. On its website, the church announced a memorial service for Carter scheduled for 1 p.m. today. “In honor of Gary,” it states, “please wear your favorite Hawaiian attire.” It also says Carter was “a faithful servant, husband, father and friend went home to be with His Savior on December 29, 2010.”

A woman who said she knew the Carters while she attended Shadow Mountain, said “The Gary Carter I knew was a gentle giant. In good times and bad he was the quiet strength you could trust… I am heartbroken to have learned of this tragedy and I am praying that God’s comforting arms will be felt around the family and the Shadow Mountain community.” She declined to give her name.

Just before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, a male witness called 911. He said he saw Carter walk to the train tracks and “lost sight of him; seconds later he heard a gun shot,” according to a press release from MHPD Wednesday.

Police officers responded to the scene at 10:30 a.m. When they arrived, they found Carter with a single gunshot wound to his head. Santa Clara County Fire Department officials pronounced him dead at 10:40 a.m.

MHPD Cmdr. Joe Sampson said Wednesday there were no immediate signs of foul play.

Several Morgan Hill police officers, the coroner and several Crime Scene Investigators were at the scene Wednesday. The body was not yet covered and was lying face down, the head toward the tracks. Carter was wearing a dark jacket with the racing logo NHRA on the back.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department also responded to a call of a body near the railroad tracks after a concerned passenger on a passing Amtrak train called 911 and said they had spotted a body near the tracks. MHPD were en route to the scene when that call was placed, Sampson said.

According to the Shadow Baptist website, Carter was born in Phoenix in 1954 and was raised in California until moving to Australia with his family at age 11.

“He was saved in an independent Baptist church at age 13,” the website read. He held a computer science degree from the University of Western Australia. He returned to the U.S. 1981 and held a number of management positions for a variety of banks, the website said.

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