(GRANTVILLE, Georgia) -- A $15,000 reward is being offered in the search for suspects who killed the owners of a Georgia shooting range and their teen grandson during an apparent robbery in which at least 40 guns were taken, authorities said.
The triple homicide occurred at the Lock, Stock and Barrel Shooting Range in Grantville, about 50 miles southwest of Atlanta. The bodies were discovered on Friday night by Coweta County coroner Richard Hawk, the son of the slain shooting-range owners and the father of the teenager who was gunned down, police said.
"I've been here eight years and we've never had anything like this," Grantville police Chief Steve Whitlock told ABC affiliate station WSB-TV in Atlanta. "Right now, I'm just speechless. I have a hard time talking about it because they were friends of ours. I've known them for a long time."
Police identified the victims as 75-year-old Thomas Richard Hawk Sr., his 75-year-old wife, Evelyn Hawk, and their 17-year-old grandson, Luke Hawk.
Investigators suspect the killings unfolded between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday during an apparent armed robbery, according to a statement from the Grantville Police Department.
Richard Hawk went to the shooting range around 8 p.m. on Friday, discovered the bodies and called 911, police said.
In addition to the arsenal of guns stolen, the business' security camera was also taken from the scene, police said.
Grantville police officials asked anyone who drove passed the gun range around the time of the killings to contact investigators and relay any information on what they saw, specifically what type of vehicles were parked outside.
The federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting in the investigation. The Lock, Stock and Barrel Shooting range is a federal firearms licensee in Grantville, officials said.
The ATF joined the City of Grantville and the Georgia and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, in announcing a combined reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the killings.
"ATF and our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to bring the killer(s) to justice," Benjamin Gibbons, special agent in charge of the Atlanta ATF field division, said in a statement. "The brutality of these senseless murders along with the fact that these killer(s) have acquired additional firearms make solving this case our top priority."
The killings have rocked Grantville, the town of about 3,000 residents where Thomas and Evelyn Hawk lived for more than 30 years and were well-known in the community, according to friends.
"Tommy would do anything for anybody. It’s just a nice family. It’s been really hard," said Whitlock, adding that he last spoke to the couple on Tuesday when he visited the shooting range.
The family was well known in the Coweta County community and investigators are still trying to piece together what led up to the shooting. https://t.co/NS9YZBgi5a— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) April 10, 2022
Coweta County Sheriff Lenn Wood said he was also close to the Hawk family and posted a heartfelt condolence letter on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, saying, the Coweta County Community is "forever broken and changed by the senseless and tragic event that happened in Grantville."
"Family was taken from the Hawk family, and us, way too soon and we are left with hurt, pain, and very little answers," Wood wrote. "I am a life-long member of Coweta and every family, especially the Hawk family, are a valuable and precious part of my life. My heart is hurting and my prayers to our God is that He is ever present right now with Richard and his family; providing peace, strength and overwhelming love from God and our community."
Wood added, "I am also fervently praying that God will use our law enforcement community and the Coweta Community to bring justice swiftly."