Suspect wanted in Georgia murders

ATLANTA — Police said Saturday they are looking for at least one armed suspect in connection with the killing of a Georgia shooting range owner, his wife and grandson.

The Grantville Police Department said a robbery occurred Friday night. When officers arrived at the scene around 8 p.m., they discovered three bodies at the Lock Stock & Barrel Shooting Range.

According to WSB-TV, Grantville police identified the victims as the shooting range owner, Thomas Hawk, 75; his wife Evelyn, 75; and her grandson Luke, 17.

Police Chief Steve Whitlock said the Hawk family is known and respected in their small, close-knit community. The Hawks had operated Lock Stock & Barrel for nearly 30 years. Her grandson was on spring break helping his grandparents in the shop.

“It’s just a shock to everyone in the community,” Whitlock told reporters. “We’re trying our best to find out.” 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 went through the store and found the victims.

As of early Saturday, there were no suspects and no arrests had been made, Whitlock said. Investigators said up to 40 guns and the shooting range surveillance camera were also stolen.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is working on the case, but when contacted Saturday it referred all inquiries to the Grantville Police Department. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was also called in on the number of guns seized. 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 for eight years and I’ve never had to examine anything like this. It’s pretty tough for us. The crime rate is really, really low,” he said.

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,” said Atlanta Field Division Special Agent Benjamin P. Gibbons. “The brutality of these senseless murders, coupled with the fact that these killers acquired additional firearms, makes solving this case our top priority.” A message left at the ATF’s Atlanta office was not immediately returned.

Police are asking any witnesses to come forward.

“Anyone who drove past the shooting range during the 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. time period and may have seen vehicles other than a white Ford Dual Truck and a black Ford Expedition is asked to contact the police department ‘ the Grantville Police Department said in their Facebook statement.

The shooting range is located in rural Coweta County, about 50 miles southwest of Atlanta.

Coweta County Sheriff Lenn Wood said in a statement on Facebook that the entire community was forever broken 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 bring justice quickly.”

Information for this article was contributed by Chevel Johnson of The Associated Press.

Gallery: Fatal robbery at Georgia gun range