Police in North Carolina have shot and killed the man they believe is the serial killer responsible for five murders in South Carolina in the past week.

Forty-one-year-old Patrick Burris (pictured) was shot dead by cops who came to investigate a report of a burglary in Gastonia, NC. Burris reportedly pulled a gun and wounded one of the officers, and was killed in the subsequent shootout. Now police say that was the same gun that had a good portion of the entire state panicked for the past week:

"Through forensics, we were able to prove today that the weapon he shot the officer with was the same weapon all five of our victims were shot with," said[Cherokee County Sheriff Bill] Blanton.

Police also can place Burris near the three sites of the killings and have recovered items from the murder scenes in his possession, Blanton said, without providing details.

Residents of Gaffney, SC, where the killings had occurred, were reportedly mostly too scared to even venture out for 4th of July celebrations.

Burris was just released from prison last April, after serving eight years for breaking and entering and larceny. South Carolina lawmen are now saying he never should have been free:

Burris had an extensive criminal record for a variety of crimes in several states including: armed robbery, common law robbery, weapons violation, forgeries, multiple instances of breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods.

[Pic: AP]