Sheriff: Georgia shooting spree worst mass shooting in county’s history

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APPLING, GA. (WBJF) – We continue our coverage with Columbia County investigators calling Friday night’s shooting rampage the worst the county has ever seen.

In Columbia County, investigators say you can count the number of murders in a year on one hand. Although some of those murders have been violent in the past, Captain Andy Shedd says Friday night’s killing spree is something he’s never seen in all his years on the force.

“It is shocking and you try to wrap your head around it and you of course try to maintain your professionalism,” said Shedd.

Five people were killed Friday night by Wayne Hawes before turning the gun on himself.

Investigators are calling it a domestic violence attack involving his estranged wife and her family. Shedd tells News Channel 6 that the last time anything close to this happened within the county was back in the 1980’s.

“As far as the historical perspective, the only thing I can think of, and I’ve been here for 26 years with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the only thing I can think of that compares to this is back in 1987, just before my time in law enforcement, we had the Jamie Tankersley case where he shot and killed three individuals at Clark Hill lake in Columbia County,” said Shedd.

Shedd says this crime is similar to recent national ones.

“I would definitely call this a mass shooting in that we had five people shot and killed,” said Shedd.

While no charges can be filed to help bring justice to the family of those murdered, Shedd says the sheriff’s office is working any way it can to help family and friends during the grieving process.

“Obviously this is a tragedy and we are going to do everything we can to be there for the family and try to help them get through this. But there’s no easy way of getting around all of this that’s happened,” said Shedd.

According to the Columbia County court system, from 1989-2002 Wayne Anthony Hawes had been arrested and charged with Battery, Assault, Several Speeding charges, Shoplifting, Selling Cocaine, 2 DUI charges, Obstruction of Police, Fleeing or Attempting to Allude Police, Reckless Driving.

He was convicted on most of the charges.

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