A mother of six children was fatally shot in North Carolina during a case of road rage on Thursday as the woman and her husband were on a getaway trip, the authorities said.
Officials said they responded around noon to a report of a person shot on Interstate 95 in Lumberton, N.C., about 125 miles from Charlotte, N.C.
They discovered Julie Eberly, 47, of Manheim, Pa., had been shot through the passenger door of the vehicle her husband, Ryan, had been driving. She was taken to Southeastern Health in Lumberton, where she later died, the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office said. Mr. Eberly was not injured.
The couple celebrated their anniversary this week, Sheriff Burnis Wilkins of Robeson County said on Facebook. They were headed to Hilton Head Island, S.C., for a getaway, the sheriff said.
The police said the couple’s vehicle had come close to another vehicle as Mr. Eberly was trying to merge into a lane.
The driver of the other vehicle proceeded to move to the passenger side of the Eberlys’ car, lowered the window and fired “multiple shots into the passenger door,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
The gunman was believed to have been driving a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu or Impala, according to the authorities.
The police said they were still searching for the gunman as of Saturday afternoon. Sheriff Wilkins said homicide detectives were also trying to locate video footage of the shooting.
The sheriff said he had met with Mr. Eberly and his parents.
“As devastated as they are, they were so appreciative of the outpouring of support they have received not only from their home community in Pennsylvania but our community as well,” the sheriff wrote on Facebook.
“I say all of that to say this. ‘Thank You Robeson County,’” he added. “It literally brings tears to my eyes to know that you have come forward in such a way to want to assist this family especially as they are from out of state. That alone speaks volumes.”
He called the shooting “cowardly and senseless.”
“Thankfully they had left their six children at home with grandparents, but now these kids have to live with the thought of their mother” being killed “in such a cowardly and senseless way,” Sheriff Wilkins said. “My heart goes out to this family and I ask that everyone reading this stop and pray for this entire family.”
On Friday, the Sheriff’s Office announced a $10,000 reward, given by an anonymous donor, for information that could lead to an arrest in the case.
Susan Eberly, Ms. Eberly’s mother-in-law, said in an online fund-raiser that her daughter-in-law was a “beautiful, loving, generous, and giving person.”
Kristen Bittner, who identified herself as a daughter of Ms. Eberly’s, said on Facebook that her heart had been “completely shattered” by her mother’s death.
“I will cherish all the good memories, laughter and love I got to share with her these past 21 years,” Ms. Bittner wrote. “Taken from us way to soon in the most awful way, she did not deserve this. My mom deserved to die old, with family surrounding her.”