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Georgia authorities said firearms stolen from a rural gun range where the elderly owner, his wife and their teenage grandson were brutally murdered have been recovered.
Jacob Christian Muse, 21, of College Park, Georgia, was arrested Friday, seven days after the April 8 triple homicide at the Lock, Stock & Barrel Shooting Range in Grantville, Georgia, a small city of some 3,000 people about 50 miles southwest of Atlanta. He has so far been charged with three counts of malice murder and was booked into the Coweta County Jail. The Grantville Police Department, a force of just about a dozen officers, initially said as many as 40 firearms and the gun shop’s camera DVR were stolen in what was believed to be an armed robbery between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Fox 5 Atlanta reported Monday that a joint task force executed a search warrant on Friday at Muse’s home in College Park, where authorities recovered handguns and long guns stolen from the shop.
SUSPECTS IN GEORGIA GUN SHOP ROBBERY, TRIPLE MURDER MYSTERY LIKELY KNEW VICTIMS, EX-ATF AGENT SAYS
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) used serial numbers on the weapons to verify they were the ones stolen in the April 8 crime. It wasn’t clear if all the weapons stolen were found.
Investigators said Muse previously lived in Grantville, had purchased a gun from Lock, Stock & Barrel in the past and used to spend time as a customer at the business’ gun range, Grantville Police Chief Steve Whitlock revealed Monday, according to The Newnan Times-Herald. Police said Muse could face additional charges and more arrests might come as the case progresses, according to Fox 5.
The business owner, Tommy Richard Hawk Sr., his wife Evelyn Hawk, both 75, and their grandson, Alexander Luke Hawk, 17, who was helping his grandparents at the shop while on spring break from high school, were all found dead inside the shop at approximately 8 p.m. on April 8. A previously released 911 call captured the moments Coweta County Coroner Tommy Richard Hawk, Jr., the elderly couple’s son and the 17-year-old victim’s father, arrived finding the doors of the family business locked and a bloody scene visible inside.
“The door is closed, the door is locked, everything is locked up. I see blood coming from my son’s – I see blood coming from my son,” Tommy Richard Hawk, Jr., told a dispatcher. “I can’t tell if anyone is dead or alive or what, but he’s not moving, he doesn’t look like he’s breathing.”
“I can’t even get in the door. Tell somebody to bring some lock cutters with them because I don’t have my keys,” he said. “My parents are also supposed to be here too, just get somebody down here quick.”
The coroner begged the dispatcher to “get some police officers” to the store, adding: “I think somebody has robbed us and probably shot my family. Oh my God,” according to WXIA-TV.
The Hawk family released a statement this weekend amid news of the first arrest.
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“We are encouraged and honored by the incredible efforts of our local law enforcement including the Grantville Police and Coweta County Sheriff’s department, as well as the ATF and GBI,” the statement said. “We understand from Chief Steve Whitlock that the current development with the murder suspect in custody, was certainly a team effort. We are continuing to pray for their teams during this stressful time, and we will continue to pray for the redemption of the perpetrator.”
“Thank you again, to the city of Grantville and the community at large for such an outpouring of love and support. It is so meaningful that so many in our community cherished them as we did and have helped to shine a light in the darkness,” the family continued. “Tommy, Evelyn and Luke Hawk have been laid to rest but, we will certainly see them again.”
The investigation remains active and authorities are still offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to additional arrests or convictions.