ATLANTA — Police are looking for at least one armed suspect in connection with the murder of the Georgia shooting range owner and his wife and grandson, authorities said Saturday.
The Grantville Police Department said via Facebook that the robbery took place Friday evening. When officers arrived at the scene around 8 p.m., they discovered the bodies of the Lock Stock & Barrel Shooting Range owner, along with his wife and grandson.
According to WSB-TV, Grantville police identified the victims as the owner of the shooting range, Thomas Hawk, 75; his wife, Evelyn, 75; and their grandson, Luke, 17.
Police Chief Steve Whitlock said the Hawk family was well known and respected in their small, tight-knit community. The Hawks had operated Lock Stock & Barrel for almost 30 years. Their grandson was on spring break, helping his grandparents at the store.
“It’s just a shock to everyone in the community,” Whitlock told The Associated Press. “We’re trying to do the best we can to figure that out.”
Whitlock said investigators believe the robbery and shooting took place around 5:30 p.m. Friday, when the range normally closes. He said Hawk’s son Richard came through the business and was the person who found the victims.
There are no suspects Saturday morning and no arrests have been made, he said. Investigators said as many as 40 firearms and the range’s surveillance camera were also stolen.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating, but when contacted Saturday, they referred all inquiries to Grantville police. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was also called due to the amount of weapons taken. Whitlock said he was grateful for the help of other law enforcement agencies in the investigation.
“We’re just a small town, 12 officers. I’ve been here eight years and never had to investigate anything like that. It’s been pretty tough for us. The crime rate is really, really low,” he said.
A $15,000 reward was posted for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer(s) in the case, according to the ATF Atlanta office’s Twitter feed.
“The ATF and our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to bring the killer(s) to justice,” said Benjamin P. Gibbons, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Field Division at Atlanta, in a statement. “The brutality of these senseless killings along with the fact that these killers have acquired additional firearms makes solving this case our top priority.”
A message left at the ATF office in Atlanta was not immediately returned.
The police are asking any witnesses to come forward. Whitlock said they have no video evidence to work with at this time.
“Anyone who drove near the shooting range between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. who saw vehicles other than a white Ford double truck and a black Ford Expedition is asked to contact the police department,” police said. of Grantville in its statement on Facebook. .
The range is in rural Coweta County, about 80 miles southwest of Atlanta.
Coweta County Sheriff Lenn Wood said in a statement on Facebook that the entire community is forever shattered by the “senseless and tragic” murders of members of the Hawk family.
“I also pray fervently that God will use our law enforcement community and the Coweta community,” he said, “to deliver justice quickly.”