Sunday 22 April 2018

Daughter: Georgia shooting suspect was 'ticking time-bomb'

Wayne Hawes was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound (WRDW/WAGT Augusta/Columbia County Sheriff's Office/AP)
Wayne Hawes was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound (WRDW/WAGT Augusta/Columbia County Sheriff's Office/AP)

The daughter of a Georgia man suspected of shooting dead five people before killing himself has said her father was a "ticking time-bomb".

Lauren Hawes said she, her mother Angela Dent and her one-year-old daughter hid in a neighbour's house, barely escaping with their lives, while her father, Wayne Hawes, 50, went on a bloody rampage. His victims included her grandmother and cousin.

"He made threats before, but we never thought it would be at this capacity," Lauren Hawes said. "He's been kind of a ticking time-bomb if you want to put in a few words."

Captain Andy Shedd of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office said the Friday night shootings stemmed from a domestic dispute that left three men and two women dead at two separate locations within about a mile of each other.

The body of Hawes was recovered on Saturday by authorities in his home in Appling.

Lauren Hawes, 26, said her mother had walked out on her father just a week ago. She had left before, but this time she took her possessions with her to prevent Hawes from destroying them as he had done in the past.

After Ms Dent's departure, Wayne Hawes bottomed out emotionally.

"He's done things that were questionable in the past, but never to this extent. This is very surprising. We thought he could possibly hurt himself, but not others," said his daughter.

The rampage began on Friday evening, when deputies went to a home in Johnson Drive at about 8pm and found three victims. Authorities were then called to a second home nearby, where two other victims were found.

"We believe the two shootings were related based on witness accounts," Mr Shedd said.

When authorities reached Hawes' house and entered, they found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. They also found evidence that he attempted to set the house on fire.

The victims were identified as Roosevelt Burns, 75; Rheba Mae Dent, 85; Trequila Clark, 31; Lizzy Williams, 59; and Shelly Williams, 62. One of the women died on the way to hospital and the others were dead at the scene.

"We believe some of the victims were related to the suspect's wife," Mr Shedd said.

Lauren Hawes said her parents had known each since they were teenagers and had a common-law marriage.

Lauren Hawes said Rheba Mae Dent was her grandmother, and Trequila Clark her cousin. She said her grandmother was retired and her cousin was a registered nurse, who graduated from Augusta State University in 2012. Roosevelt Burns was her grandmother's brother.

Ola Murry, of Appling, in north-east Georgia said the neighbourhood was devastated by the events. She said she thought Hawes was a nice person, but he made a "stupid" decision.

"I always thought he was a nice guy," she said.

"I know he did what he did, but that doesn't make him a bad guy. You know, the devil gets into you sometimes and you do stupid stuff. You got to think. You always have to put the Lord in front of you, let him lead you and you won't go wrong."

Press Association

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