APPLING, Ga. (WJBF) — Columbia County investigators say Friday night, 50-year-old Wayne Hawes gunned down three family members of his estranged wife of three decades and two family members of his rumored girlfriend before killing himself.
“We’re now finding out that there were some issues between him and his estranged wife,” said Captain Andy Shedd. “Some of the victims that we had that were shot last night were family members of his estranged wife. So we’re trying to piece all that together now.”
Around 8:00 p.m., three people were found dead on Johnson Drive in Appling, Georgia.
Those victims have been identified as 75-year-old Roosevelt Burns, 85-year-old Reba Mae Dent and 31-year-old Kelia Clark.
During the course of that investigation, deputies received a second call that more shots had been fired at a home on Washington Road, just around the corner from the first crime scene.
There they found the bodies of 59-year-old Lizzy Williams and 62-year-old Shelly Williams.
Family members of Hawes say he had a history of substance abuse, domestic violence and a bad temper.
They did not want to go on camera, but they say that the tipping point came when his wife told him last weekend that she was leaving him.
They added that on Sunday, he mentioned he had plans to do something that they would “see on CNN.”
These family members say they believe he went to these homes looking to kill his estranged wife and girlfriend but when they weren’t there, he shot their family members instead.
“He was staying with the lady’s daughter but when he went up to her house, I don’t know what started him to kill her and her brother,” said Hawes’ childhood neighbor George McCladdie.
Investigators say Hawes later killed himself at his home on Rosemont Road in Appling. They say he tried to set fire to the house as well.
With a killing spree unprecedented in the county, Appling has been shaken to its core.
“He was driving that guy last Saturday that he killed right there on Washington Rd. I don’t know what happened, at the spur of the moment he must’ve just cracked up, I guess so…they was real good friends,” McCladdie said.
The Columbia County Coroner tells us that all five victims and Wayne Hawes will be sent to the GBI Crime Lab for an autopsy.