Police are looking for at least one armed suspect after the shooting range owner, his wife and grandson were killed in Georgia, authorities said Saturday.
The Grantville Police Department said via Facebook that the alleged robbery and shooting happened Friday night. When officers arrived at the scene around 8 p.m., they found that Lock Stock & Barrel Shooting Range owner Thomas Richard Hawk Sr., 75, had been killed. His 75-year-old wife, Evelyn, and their 17-year-old grandson, Luke, were also found dead.
Police Chief Steve Whitlock told WSB-TV on Saturday that the robbery hit him like nothing else in his 40 years of law enforcement.
“I’ve been here eight years and we’ve never had anything like this,” Whitlock said. “Right now I’m just speechless. It’s hard for me to talk about because they were friends of ours. I know her for a long time.”
Whitlock said investigators believe the robbery and shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. Friday, when the shooting range normally closes. He said Hawk’s son Richard got into the store around 8 p.m. and found the victims.
The Hawks had operated Lock, Stock & Barrel and were part of the small, close-knit community for nearly 30 years. Her grandson was on spring break and helping his grandparents in the shop, authorities said.
“It’s really hard because we don’t have stuff like that here in Grantville,” Whitlock said. “It’s a nice, quiet little town.”
The police chief said the incident was personal.
“We stop by here at least once or twice a week,” Whitlock said. “I was here on Tuesday and spoke to them and the deputy chief was here on Wednesday and spoke to them.”
Investigators said up to 40 guns and the shooting range surveillance camera and recorder were stolen from the scene.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating, but when contacted Saturday it referred all inquiries to Grantville Police. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was also called in about the volume of guns seized. The three authorities are trying to determine what may have led to the shooting and find leads to one or more potential suspects.
According to the ATF’s Atlanta office Twitter feed, a $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers in the case.
“ATF and our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to bring the killer(s) to justice,” Benjamin P. Gibbons, the ATF Atlanta Field Division’s assigned special agent in charge, said in a statement. “The brutality of these senseless murders combined with the fact that these killers acquired additional firearms makes solving this case our top priority.”
The police are looking for witnesses and have not announced any arrests. Whitlock said they don’t currently have video evidence to work with.
The shooting range is located in rural Coweta County, about 50 miles southeast of Atlanta.