A man caught on security camera who fatally shot his manager at a fast-food restaurant in rural southern Georgia on Thursday is also suspected of killing his mother and grandmother at their nearby homes before taking his own life , the authorities said.
Security video from McDonald’s in Moultrie showed 26-year-old Kentavious White shooting the store manager after she coaxed her to come to the door Thursday morning, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said. Footage then showed White entering the restaurant and shooting himself.
Police found the manager, identified as 41-year-old Amia Smith, and White both dead on arrival, the GBI said in a press release Thursday night. They also found that two women related to White had been shot dead in neighboring homes less than 2 miles away. Both women died – one after being rushed to a hospital, the GBI said.
All three of the women killed appeared to have been shot multiple times, Colquitt County Coroner C. Verlyn Brock told The Associated Press.
“I really can’t figure out what provoked him in this way,” Brock said in a phone interview.
Brock said the women killed were the gunman’s 50-year-old mother and 74-year-old grandmother, who lived next to each other. Their names were not immediately released. Brock said his office is working to contact next of kin.
Moultrie Police, called in by the GBI, are taking the lead in investigating the case, which is often the case with serious crimes in Georgia. State law enforcement said investigations are ongoing.
Jerry Goodwin lived next door to the shooter and his mother and two doors down from the grandmother. He told the Associated Press Thursday that his wife heard gunshots before 1 a.m. Thursday while he was sleeping. Goodwin said the young man, who lives next door, came outside a day earlier in the week and fired a gun while yelling something and that Moultrie police responded.
However, it appears that police did not respond immediately on Thursday. Goodwin said police and an ambulance arrived just before 6 a.m. and the ambulance immediately took one person away. He said the coroner later recovered two more bodies.
Goodwin said he doesn’t know his neighbors well, although the man came to his home for advice on installing a fence after he moved in a few years ago.
“I had never seen him hurt anyone or try to hurt anyone before,” Goodwin said.
Moultrie Police Chief Sean Ladson did not immediately respond to email messages asking for comment. A person who answered the phone at police headquarters said Ladson forwarded all calls to the GBI.
Moultrie resident Tanner Strickland said he knew two of the women who were murdered.
“Both were two of the greatest people I’ve ever had the privilege of being with,” Strickland told WALB-TV. “Both light up every room they enter. They both truly have hearts of gold.”
Sabrina Holweger, who works at an optometrist’s practice next to McDonald’s, told the AP that she and a co-worker arrived at work before 8 a.m. and found the dead woman’s body lying in a doorway of the restaurant while police swarmed around.
“It was really scary not knowing if they shot themselves,” Holweger said.
She said police cordoned off a main street that runs in front of McDonald’s in the city of 15,000.
Holweger said the woman who died at the restaurant was the early morning manager and the shooter was an employee there. Holweger said it appeared the man killed the woman as she unlocked the door to let him in for his morning shift.
George Suarez, owner and operator of McDonald’s in Moultrie, said the restaurant will remain closed until further notice.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved restaurant manager and our condolences go out to all the victims of this senseless act of violence,” Suarez said in a statement from McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Chicago.
The killings in Moultrie, in rural Colquitt County, about 95 kilometers northeast of Tallahassee, Fla., came a day after a gunman killed one person and injured four others at a doctor’s office in Atlanta.
Colquitt County Government Administrator Chas Cannon said he was driving his daughter to school Thursday morning when he passed the McDonald’s, which was cordoned off by police cordons and squad cars.
“Killing is pretty rare in our area,” Cannon said. “It’s surprising. But today and at this time, our prison, our local prison, is full. Unfortunately, there are many people who break the law.”