Law enforcement officials say five people were shot dead in the community of Appling, Ga., at two separate locations on Friday evening. They say the suspect was later found dead in his own garage.
Columbia County Sheriff Captain Andy Shedd said the suspect, who “died because of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” has been identified as Wayne Hawes, The Associated Press reported.
Shedd added that Hawes “knew the victims and the shootings stemmed from a domestic incident.”
Appling is about 25 miles west of Augusta.
At the first crime scene, Shedd told the AP, “there we had three victims that died as a result of gunshot wounds.” And as law enforcement authorities were still at that scene, “we received additional calls to 5581 Washington Road, Appling, Georgia – just down the street from our crime scene location. And there we had two victims.”
Shedd added that they were able to link the two crime scenes using witness statements and physical evidence.
According to the wire service, the victims at the first location have been identified as “Roosevelt Burns, 75, Rheva Mae Dent, 85, and Kelia Clark, 31.” Victims at the second location have been identified as “Lizzy Williams, 59, and Shelly Williams, 62.”
The New York Times spoke to a neighborhood resident, who described the initial aftermath:
” ‘We just kind of peeked out,’ she said, adding that they saw a man leave from the victims’ home in a car. ‘After we saw him go off, we were like, ‘That’s not right.’ ‘
“Then, she said, another resident — a relative of the victims — who had gone to the house to investigate started screaming, ‘Call 911! Call 911!’ she said.
“The resident said she entered the home with the relative and could see two people in chairs were already dead and another person was slumped over and bleeding profusely.
“She said the road late on Friday was teeming with police officers, some of them with assault rifles.”
In the AP interview, Shedd said: “I’ve been with the Columbia County Sheriff’s office for 26 years, and this is the largest shooting in terms of victims that I’ve ever encountered.”