Man charged in murder at Greenville airport ordered into psychiatric care

Crime Tracker

UPDATE: The man accused of shooting and killing a long-time coworker at the Pitt-Greenville Airport in December, 2018 appeared in court on Friday in Pitt County.

John Reid, age 49, of Grimesland, sat before a Superior Court judge and the family of Joseph Pate, of Beaufort County.

Police say, at 6:00 a.m. on December 16, 2018, Reid fatally shot Pate outside the main entrance to the Pitt-Greenville Airport.

Reid was arrested after the shooting on a charge of first-degree murder, and was placed in the Pitt County Detention Center under a $2 million bond.

On Friday in court, a forensic psychiatrist was called to the witness stand to weigh in on Reid’s mental state.

She said after an in-depth interview, she was able to conclude Reid has “delusional disorder.”

The judge ruled Reid must be admitted into Central Regional Hospital – a state-run psychiatric hospital in Butner – until his mental state is “restored.”

Hospital staff must restore Reid’s mental health and submit a 90-day report before his murder trial can continue.

After Reid’s court appearance on Friday, some of Pate’s family members told WNCT they were disappointed in the ruling and want answers now, but they declined to speak on-camera.

We will continue to follow this trial and bring you the latest updates in this case on-air, at, and on the free WNCT 9 On Your Side Mobile App.


A man boarding a flight at the Greenville airport was fatally shot early Sunday morning. 

Greenville police officers responded to the Pitt-Greenville Airport for a report of shots fired outside the main entrance to the airport terminal on Sunday, December 16, at 6:00 a.m. 

Officers found Joseph Pate, 52, of Beaufort County suffering from a gunshot wound. Pate died on scene.  

GPD Major Crimes Detectives responded and are still investigating the incident.

One suspect was taken into custody by Greenville Police Officers very shortly after the incident.  That suspect, John Reid, 49, of Grimesland, was charged with first-degree murder and is currently being held in the Pitt County Detention Center. He was given a $2 million bond. 

Pate and Reid knew each other, and police said there was no ongoing threat. 

Very early in the investigation, the 11:00 a.m. flight, departing out of Pitt-Greenville Airport was canceled out of caution for the safety of airport customers and staff.  The airport is now open for business, and normal commercial flight operations will resume today, but the 11:00 a.m. flight remains canceled.   

The Greenville Police Department is the lead agency in this investigation and are working closely with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and Pitt-Greenville Airport management and staff.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

LKQD Outstream

Trending Stories