Three people in masks were shot and killed by a Rockdale County, Ga. homeowner Monday morning, authorities said.
Investigators have not determined if the deadly shooting at a residence on White Oak Court outside Conyers was the result of a home invasion, Rockdale Sheriff Eric Levett told AJC.com
“This is at the very early stages of our investigation,” he said.
Deputies were called to the single-story home shortly after 4 a.m. to investigate a report of shots fired. They found three “young men” down on the ground outside, Levett said.
“Upon our arrival, the deceased was at the edge of a driveway and partially in the roadway,” he said. “The other young man was a little bit down the street, where it appears he was running.”
Deputies administered first aid to him and another man. Both later died after being taken to a hospital, according to the sheriff’s office.
The three did not live in the home, and their identities are unknown, Levett said. For that reason, investigators have not been able to determine if any have a criminal history.
“They did discover masks on the young men,” the sheriff said. “That rose our suspicions, so now we are out in the community speaking with witnesses, speaking of course with the homeowner involved, and of course we are trying to identify the young men and notify their families.”
A large contingency of sheriff’s deputies were working to gather evidence Monday morning, and the coroner was called to the home. Carlos Watson, who lives next door, said more than 10 emergency vehicles responded quickly to his otherwise quiet cul-de-sac after the shooting.
He thought he was dreaming when he first heard a series of about five gunshots. The second round got him out of bed.
“I heard somebody yell for help … then I heard it again, and that’s when I came outside,” Watson said. “There was one gentleman laid out and our neighbor Mr. Jenkins was helping him out.”
Brian Jenkins, a candidate for Rockdale County commission chair, said he waited until deputies arrived before he went to check on the man lying in his yard, screaming for help. He appeared to be shot near his shoulder and was wearing a mask around his neck, he said.
“I told him to just calm down and relax,” he said. “It will be OK, just stop moving.”
Watson has lived in the neighborhood off Flat Shoals Road for about a year and said random crimes are not common.
“It had to be somebody who was familiar with wherever they were going, especially with a cul-de-sac,” he said. “You don’t just go into the end of a neighborhood like this. Unfortunately, they met their demise trying to break into a man’s property.”
Investigators are still trying to determine who owned two different types of guns recovered from the scene. The homeowner, who is in his late 40s to early 50s, appeared to be outside when the shooting occurred, Levett said.
“The homeowner was not hurt,” he said. “I think there were three homeowners that witnessed this incident, and of course they are distraught.”
The man was taken to Rockdale’s criminal investigation division to be interviewed. There is no threat to the community, and investigators have accounted for everyone involved in the shooting, authorities said.
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