SOUTH FORSYTH – Four people have been fatally shot, including two children and the shooter, and a fifth was taken to an area hospital with multiple gunshot wounds Wednesday morning in what authorities are calling a murder-suicide.
Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper said in a press conference near the scene that two of the victims were under the age of 10.
Though family connections have not been released, three people – the adult male shooter and the two children – were pronounced dead on scene when emergency personnel arrived to the residence on the 5500 block of Old Atlanta Road, Piper said.
The fourth person, an adult female, succumbed to injuries either en route to the hospital or upon arrival.
The only surviving victim, an adult male, is being treated at a hospital for multiple gunshot wounds, Piper said. He was in critical condition as of the 10 a.m. news briefing.
Piper said detectives hope to find a motive during the ongoing investigation.
“There’s no reason we’re ever going to understand why he shot an entire family,” he said.
The domestic-related shooting occurred around 6 a.m., when a relative called 911 from another county to alert authorities of the situation.
Minutes before the 911 call came in, Piper said, a nearby business reported hearing gunshots.
Old Atlanta Road has been shut down from Westminster Lane to the Fulton-Forsyth county line at McGinnis Ferry Road and will remain closed for an “undetermined amount of time.”
The residence where the shooting occurred neighbors the Olde Atlanta Golf Club, a golf course community of more than 600 homes along the Chattahoochee River.
The next step in the investigation is for the sheriff’s office to obtain a search warrant.
The entire incident occurred inside the home. Deputies were apparently “familiar with the residence.” However, Piper said none of those incidents were reported as violent.
This is the second murder-suicide and third shooting related to domestic violence in July that has affected someone in or connected to Forsyth County.
On July 8, Erin Niccole Jones, a 28-year-old Forsyth County 911 communications officer, was shot to death by her 43-year-old live-in boyfriend at their home on Maple Hill Drive in downtown Dawsonville.
Neither the two young children they had together nor his two kids were home at the time.
On July 17, a 64-year-old woman was arrested after reportedly shooting her 69-year-old husband, Gary Smith, several times.
It was initially reported he made the 911 call and was conscious when emergency personnel arrived to transport him to a hospital for surgery.
Check back for updates.
Online editor Jim Dean contributed to this story.