Woman intruder, 53, shot dead at home in Cherokee County

An armed woman who entered a home in north Cherokee County was shot and killed by the homeowner early Friday morning, officials said.

Sheriff Roger Garrison said the woman, Barbara Ellen Smith, was a former co-worker of the homeowner, was dressed head to toe in camouflage and that her face was covered. She entered the home through the garage door after the man's wife left for work, Garrison said.

Smith, 53, confronted the homeowner, 54-year-old Fred Stanley Whitmore, and the two struggled, he said. During the struggle, Smith was fatally shot once in the head, Garrison said.

The incident took place on Bethany Manor Way, north of Canton. Smith's vehicle was located approximately one mile away, police said.

Garrison said Smith and Whitmore had worked together in the health care profession, but said there is no indication of a motive. Both Smith and Whitmore are licensed nurses, according to the Georgia Secretary of State's Office.

"It's an understatement to say that it's just a bizarre incident," Garrison said. "The person that obviously knows the most about the situation is deceased, so it's going to be very difficult to ever determine exactly what the motive may have been."

Garrison said Whitmore would not likely face charges. "There's no indication to anything at this point other than the fact that it's a case of self-defense," he said. "Based upon the dress [of the intruder], it would have been virtually impossible for him to have known who this individual was."

- Alexis Stevens contributed to this report.