Fatal Shooting Occurs During Child Custody Exchange

Photo by John Payne

SMITHFIELD – One person is dead and another in custody following a shooting. It happened around 9:23pm Sunday at 151 Bear Oak Drive, off Swift Creek Road.

First responders found 44 year-old Emily Christine Steinhoff of Garner dead at the scene from an apparent gunshot wound. According to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, Ms. Steinhoff had taken her sister to the address of 151 Bear Oak Drive to pick up her sister’s 14 month-old child. The child had spent the weekend with his father, Dorian Thomas, who lives at the address.

During the custody exchange, authorities said a gun was produced by Dorian Thomas and a single shot was fired, killing Emily Steinhoff.

Thomas, age 50, was arrested at the scene and charged with murder. He is being held in the Johnston County Detention Center without bond.

Sheriff’s Captain Jeff Caldwell said the investigation remains ongoing. No additional details were released.


  1. This is why extremely careful selection of who you procreate with is literally a matter of life and death.

    Men, be more moral and what you’re willing to take to bed.

      • Sir, religion is the problem , I ask you try just reading the Bible with an open heart and mind , it’s about a personal relationship not religion , why is this the most hidden , fought for published, hated book to ever exist? Once you see it ..you can’t unsee it . No God No freedom, Know God Know Freedom. If you want the original translation go to a Geneva Bible 1600-1800’s I never been to this site or link before. Why should I care about your soul ? Or what you think? I don’t care about your opinion one thing not in the Bible? Is my or your opinion. Iv studied the Bible and religion for 40 yrs I believe to my core it is the truth and it more easily proven now more then ever . This is fact again not my opinion, I was only confident after educating myself. I was the definition fo blind but now I see. Have a great day, I’ll be praying for you. And remember, just because you don’t believe in him doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in you. Seek and ye shall find.

  2. How very sad for the child to now be parentless over stupid choices. I sure hope the child did not witness the shooting.

  3. This guy is a dam animal. I believe in the death penalty and this guy should get it ASAP! Prayers for all the family’s except for the murderer.

    • That’s funny because I can almost guarantee you that if you ask all of the people that knows him and the people he’s met, they’d tell you the exact opposite because he’s not. I wonder if the same can be said for you though.

      • Yea man , I’ve known him 35+ years , all time great dude , this is mind blowing ….never in a millions years could I see this , people should be careful casting stones when they don’t know anything about the person , or situation

  4. @Doesn’t matter: You are correct!! Definitely not a monster. Do I agree with what he did NO, but he is a hard working business owner and because of whatever went on he has now lost everything. If you don’t know, please don’t judge!!!!

  5. Naw , NOT everyone that knows him would say so , he IS mad has ALWAYS been a big pile of SH*T !! Now the general public won’t have to deal with him again !!!!

    • I’ve known Dorian for most of my life and he’s always been respectful to me. You are seriously correct though, drugs are of and from the devil. They change people and I am in no way excusing want he’s done. People need to seek help when they are in that deep. Just utterly sad, all the way around.

  6. Please don’t judge until all the details are released. You have no idea what truly happened.
    Also, Dorian isn’t a drug user! Do not spread unnecessary lies when you don’t even know the facts!

  7. How can you people defend this animal. There is a reason he is held without bond. I can’t fathom that so many people defend a murderer, oh he’s a nice guy, oh there had to be a reason, oh I have known him for years. Would all of you be thinking the same thing if it was one of your family members. I would guess not. This is the problem with society today, you are defending a killer and no matter how nice, great or wonderful he was in the past, that is not the way it is today, IS IT! For whatever reason, he pulled a gun, and he pulled the trigger. All of you who defend him should be ashamed of yourselves. Again, Prayers for the family.

  8. PLEASE DONT judge!! Something is NOT right about this situation!!! Dorian has always been a peaceful man. The whole story is not being told here.

  9. I wasnt close to Dorian but I have known him for many years. I personally can’t say to his intentions nor attittute towards wemon or the mother of his child. All I can say is that Some women make it very difficult for the men that pay child support and want to be apart of their childrens lives. And of course theres always the terrible dead beat dad as ppl refer to them, with this being said it’s the babies that suffer not the adults. STOP bad mouthing each other and put your child first, they need both parents and if you can’t raise them together theres nothing wrong with seperate homes!! Adults do more damage to their own kids than they realize somethimes, I see it first hand with the gentlemen I have been dating the past several years. One day that child or children will see the truth in all the lies and bitterness these parents show. I pray for both families cause the sister was only trying to help and keep the peace it seems, but the hatered between two grown ppl ruined many lives. Dorian may have pulled the trigger if it’s proven but theres aleays two sides to the story and I’m sure the mother poked a bear.

      • Correct, and not one time did I say he wasn’t in the wrong. I’m merely stating that theres always things that lead up to domestic situtions. AS ADULTS we all take part in the thing we call relationships. I have seen certian things I wish to forget in my short stent in Law Enforcement and I see men and women push each others buttons to the point of snapping. So the fact he shot her isn’t my point nor am I taking any sides. I’m clearly just stated the obvious and telling people there’s two sides and instead of taking her sister maybe she should have taken the law. I feel sorry for the family and child that lost their mom and wife.

  10. “Oh he would NEVER do this, Oh he is such a good guy” BS!!

    Proof is, he shot her, she died on his porch/front door for her sister to witness.
    Innocent Sister/Aunt/Mom to a young autistic son that was helping her sister (the mother) because he never showed up to drop off the child and also told his ex not to show up alone.

    Premeditated MURDER as he waited with that gun.
    Keep in mind he kills his daughters aunt a day before custody court. Yeah, REAL great guy!

  11. The sister should never of been brought into the situation. If there was an issue with child exchange the Sheriff’s Dept is the best place to conduct the exchange. I also grew up with Dorian and have seen him on and off many years past high school and this has me in shock. I feel sadness for all involved. We, the public, do not know the facts. I normally do not even post on these because its always people with negative comments but I was glad to see people saying, hey wait this is not him, not his personality. I will say one thing, another ex of the mother was also left and had everyone convinced he was a horrible person who drank too much, beat her, etc. That ex is a very good friend of mine and NO he was not and is not that type of man. He is sweet and giving. What I see is a pattern. But its not my place to blame but to pray for all involved.

  12. I dated Dorian for about 6 months 30 years ago. I know a lot of changes happen to a person in 30 years but usually you get a hint that someone is violent when you they’re younger. Judging by who Dorian was 30 years ago I never ever would have thought that he would do this. He was always very peaceful, super nice and respectful to me and to everyone I have ever seen him communicate with. Like I said I know a lot can change in 30 years but I am seriously shocked and heartbroken for everyone involved.

Leave a Reply