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Murder suspect's death ruled a suicide

Ex-girlfriend had been shot 11 times


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University of North Carolina
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(CNN) -- A former university student, who is believed to have shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, committed suicide, an autopsy has ruled.

John Peck, a 27-year-old suspended from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, had been on the run for three days when he killed himself during a police chase Monday night.

Peck was the prime suspect in the shooting of Christen Naujoks, a UNCW student who was shot 11 times outside of her Wilmington apartment building Friday evening, according to Wilmington Sheriff Sid Causey.

Peck was the subject of a Wilmington Star-News article on May 30. The article, headlined "UNCW fails to uncover criminal pasts," said Peck lied about his record on his university application. The newspaper reported he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault on a female and two felony counts of crimes against nature in 2001.

Star-News executive editor Allen Parsons said his paper is not responsible for the death of Naujoks. The Star-News report revealed that Peck was facing charges of misdemeanor stalking and making harassing phone calls to Naujoks, who had filed a restraining order against him.

Naujoks' mother, Holly, tipped off the newspaper to Peck's previous record but insisted that the newspaper not publish the article -- or at least not reveal their names -- because it could set Peck off, according to Parsons.

Witnesses described Peck and his green Toyota 4-Runner at the scene of the shooting, Causey said. Police found a hit list inside Peck's vehicle that indicated he planned to kill Naujoks, her mother, his mother and a counselor, the sheriff said.

His father, Larry Peck, a former police detective, alerted authorities that his son had confessed to the crime.

A park ranger at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cherokee spotted Peck in his vehicle Monday night. After a four-mile chase with local law enforcement, Causey says police believe Peck shot himself in the mouth, causing his truck to roll off the side of a steep drop.

The May 30 Star-News article, citing court records, said Peck was in the final year of supervised probation for his previous record, and was attending anger-management classes.

The article said a man charged in a separate murder had also lied about a conviction prior to his admittance to UNCW. According to the Star-News, the man, who faces murder charges for the beating and strangling death of an 18-year-old female student, had been charged with misdemeanor larceny in 2000.

CNN's Sara Dorsey contributed to this report


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