By Carter Giegerich
WNC News Share
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic dispute call in Cashiers which ultimately ended with one woman’s death as the result of a gunshot wound.
According to a search warrant served on July 9, a sheriff’s deputy identified only as L. Woodring responded to a call from a residence at 339 Racquet Club Drive on July 1. While en route to the scene, the Jackson County Emergency Communication Center reported shots fired at the location.
Upon arrival at the scene, the deputy found the victim of the gunshot wound, Brittney Nichole Leftridge, lying on the ground with the owner of the property, Grant Higgs, performing CPR on her.
The deputy took over performing CPR on the victim and confirmed that she had sustained a gunshot wound to her rib cage.
Higgs told Woodring that Leftridge had accidentally shot herself, the warrant states. Higgs also said the couple had argued. At one point, he went into the bathroom and when he emerged, Leftridge hit herself in the head with a wine bottle.
The couple then went into the bedroom, where Leftridge picked up a gun laying on the nightstand and fired at Higgs, according to the search warrant. She went outside and Higgs heard a gunshot. He went outside to find Leftridge standing on a walkway, the search warrant states.
He took the gun from her and emptied it by firing into the woods. He turned around to find Leftridge lying wounded in a fetal position, the warrant stated.
Despite lifesaving measures performed by first responders at the scene of the shooting, Leftridge died later that day.
A witness told investigators Higgs and Leftridge had a BDSM (bondage, dominating, submission, masochism) relationship, one in which Leftridge was the submissive partner, the warrant said.
Investigators found numerous photos of Leftridge with injuries on her cell phone, the warrant said.
Interviews following the shooting indicated the firearm used was thrown into the nearby woods, and bullets and bullet fragments were listed in the warrant as “items to be seized.”
According to the search warrant, a July 8 forensic search of Leftridge’s phone was conducted.
On July 9, Superior Court Judge Brad Letts approved the search warrant for the home.
Jackson County Sheriff Chip Hall said there is an ongoing investigation into the matter, but no charges have been filed and no persons of interest have yet been named in the investigation.
The JCSO is currently waiting to receive results from the medical examiner’s office, as well as analysis of items collected during the execution of the search warrant at the Racquet Club Drive residence.