LUMPKIN COUNTY, Ga. - A violent shooting in rural north Georgia Thursday morning left three people dead two children injured, according to the officials. Investigators said the intended target had fled a domestic violence situation in Florida and took refuge at her sister's home.
"Cop turned around with a gun in his hand and said 'get inside!' So, I ran, you know. I didn't hear anything else after that," said neighbor Brian Kingree.
Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard said his deputies were called out to Bryn Drive around 8:30 a.m. after receiving calls of shots being fired. When deputies arrived, the deadly shooting spree had not ended.
"They actually heard the fatal gunshots, in the basement area of the house, as they were clearing the house, from the man where he was taking the life of his either girlfriend or wife, we don't know yet. And then he took his own life," said Sheriff Jarrad.
The sheriff said Kelley James McDonald, Jr. shot and killed the mother of his child, later identified as Kelly Garrison, and her sister, Tracy Runnels, dead in the sister's basement.
A 16-year-old girl, identified as the daughter of Runnels, was also shot, and the couple's 2-year-old child was wounded in the violent incident, the sheriff said. Both were rushed Northeast Georgia Medical Center and later transferred to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. The 16-year-old spent most of Thursday in surgery. The 2-year-old was reportedly doing okay and recovering from injuries.
McDonald then killed himself with the same firearm.
The sheriff said a 13-year-old girl was able to flee the home. She was able to call 911. The sheriff said she was placed in the temporary custody of relatives following the brutal shootings.
Lumpkin County Sheriff's deputies said McDonald was wanted for multiple domestic violence charges out of Tampa back in February. They didn't know how long McDonald's estranged wife had been hiding out with their child in the Dawsonville area.
"I noticed their car out for a while and my mom said maybe 2 months. I didn't notice. They're really quiet, stay inside nice people," said Kingree.
Investigators also do now know how long McDonald had been in town or how he got there.
The sheriff said they are searching for a woman who was driving an early model to mid-2000s gold or champagne colored Ford Explorer. Investigators believe she may have information pertinent to the case.
The teens attended a private school in another community and were on spring break this week.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been asked to take over the investigation.