A Georgia man shot two of his relatives and a fast food worker dead before killing himself on Thursday in rural south Georgia, the local coroner said.
The shooter killed his mother and grandmother at two neighboring homes and killed a woman at a McDonald’s restaurant in downtown Moultrie, Colquitt County Coroner C. Verlyn Brock told The Associated Press. He said the gunman then shot himself.
Brock did not provide the identities of the shooter or the victims. He said he did not know whether the gunman and the McDonald’s worker knew each other.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the Moultrie Police Department requested its assistance, as is typical in major crimes in Georgia.
“We are working to learn more information and track down some additional witnesses,” GBI Special Agent in Charge Jamy Steinberg wrote in an email.
Jerry Goodwin lived next door to the gunman and his mother and two doors down from the grandmother. He told The Associated Press on Thursday that his wife heard shots fired before 1 a.m. Thursday, while he was asleep. Goodwin said the young man who lives next door had come outside and fired a gun one day earlier in the week while shouting something, and that Moultrie police had responded.
However, it appears police did not respond immediately on Thursday. Goodwin said police and an ambulance arrived just before 6 a.m., with the ambulance immediately taking one person away. He said the coroner later retrieved two more bodies, indicating the man had come home from the McDonald’s and killed himself there.
Goodwin said he didn’t know his neighbors well, although the man had come to his house after moving in several years ago to seek advice on installing a fence.
“I had never seen him hurt anybody or try to hurt anybody before this,” Goodwin said.
Moultrie resident Tanner Strickland said he knew two of the slain women.
“Both them were two of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of being around,” Strickland told WALB-TV. “They both light up any room that they walk into. Both of them really have hearts of gold.”
Sabrina Holweger, who works at an optometrist’s office next to the McDonald’s, told the AP Thursday that she and a coworker arrived at work before 8 a.m. to find a woman’s body gunned down and lying in a doorway of the restaurant, with police swarming around.
“It was really just scary not knowing if they had shot themselves,” Holweger said.
She said police blocked off a main street that runs in front of the McDonald’s in the city of 15,000.
Holweger said the woman who died at the restaurant was the early morning manager, and that the shooter had been an employee there. Holweger said it appeared that the man killed the woman when she unlocked the door to let him in for an early-morning shift.
Moultrie is about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northeast of Tallahassee, Florida.
The Chicago-based McDonald’s Corp. did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Thursday.