Domestic Dispute Sparked Georgia Shooting Spree

Columbia County, Georgia authorities believe a dispute between Wayne Anthony Hawes and his wife was the spark that set off the shooting spree resulting in the deaths of five people and then Hawes himself on Friday, April 22, 2016 in Appling, Georgia.

There were two scenes of violence in Appling on Friday night, with the first call to the Columbia County Sheriff being received at 7:54 p.m. to report a shooting at 3162 Johnson Drive. When authorities arrived, they found two people dead at the scene with a third person shot who later died of her injuries at the hospital. Two women and one man had been shot, with the man also having had his throat slit.

A report of a second shooting came in at 8:32 p.m. from a residence about half a mile away from the first scene, 5581 Washington Road. Authorities who responded found two people dead at the scene, again from gunshot wounds attributed to Hawes.

Capt. Andy Shedd of the Columbia County Sheriff’s office explained that Hawes was identified as the suspect soon after the shootings were reported, with police setting up surveillance on his home once he was identified. Hawes wife was taken into protective custody while the suspect remained at-large.

A structure fire was observed and reported at Hawes’ Rosemont Road home in Appling at 12:32 a.m. April 23, 2016. When authorities approached the home to attend the fire, they found Wayne Anthony Hawes body in the garage, the cause of his death ruled to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The cause of the fire remains undetermined at this time, but authorities believe Hawes set the fire.

Victims of Wayne Anthony Hawes, Appling, Georgia, April 22, 2016 were identified as:

Victims at the Johnson Drive address:

Roosevelt Burns, 75, of McCladdie Drive, Appling

Rheba Mae Dent, 85, of Johnson Drive, Appling

Kelia Clark, 31, of Johnson Drive, Appling

Victims at the Washington Road address:

Shelly Williams, 62, Washington Road, Appling

Lizzy Williams, 59, Washington Road, Appling

Rheba Mae Dent has been identified as Hawes’ mother-in-law, with all the shooting victims believed to be related in some manner to Hawes’ wife.

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