HINESVILLE, Ga. (WTOC) – Two people died after an apparent murder-suicide at a Hinesville mall on Friday afternoon.
According to the chief of the Hinesville Police Department, it appears a man shot his wife and then committed suicide. Both are dead.
A witness at the scene said a woman in a vehicle was being chased by a man in a van. The woman parked at Liberty Square Mall and found herself in a business with the man chasing her and firing shots.
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team entered the business and found the couple’s bodies in the back of the business.
The man involved was a private from the 3rd ID. Below is a statement from Fort Stewart:
“We know that two people died in a shootout in Hinesville. We are terribly saddened by this tragic incident and can confirm that one of those who died was a soldier from the 3rd Infantry Division. The name of the soldier does not will not be released or confirmed until next of kin notification is complete.”
At one point, the entire Liberty Square mall was blocked off, shoppers moved to the edges of the parking lot away from the scene. Neighboring businesses close and lock their doors until a team of police officers can get inside the business in question to make sure there is no longer a threat.
“We pushed them back as far as we thought we could provide safe cover and directed them to cover, then began the evacuation of all other businesses. It all happened simultaneously and it was in large part because of this big, big effort by local law enforcement,” Hinesville Deputy Chief Tracey Howard said.
Workers also described people running for safety and fearing for their lives.
“My first reaction was to pray,” said Rick Faircloth, owner of Pro Feet.
The owner of Pro Feet is just a few doors down from where an apparent murder-suicide happened in broad daylight.
“They immediately started walking up and down the sidewalk ordering everyone to go back into the store and lock the door.”
Some people driving by had no idea what had happened until their loved ones called.
“I was leaving Captain D just down this street and got a call from my husband asking where I was. I told him where I was and he said you need to get to safety because there is an active shooter,” said Hermina Glass-Hill, exhibition curator Susie King Taylor.
People who appeared to be Lendmark employees declined to comment, hugging and crying at the scene.
People say it’s not an expected situation, not here.
“For that to happen, it was a shock.”
But Glass-Hill says it happens too often.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen domestic violence increase in our country…right here in the Lowcountry.”
Representative Al Williams agreed, alluding to instances of active shootings and mass shootings occurring everywhere.
“It’s a sad situation at a time when, in this country, it happens far too often.”
Most people applauded the quick efforts of law enforcement, but they stress the importance of mental health.
“One of the things we have to keep in mind is that temperaments sometimes trump common sense,” the Williams rep said.
And seek help…
“And I mean a therapist beyond your preacher, someone who is trained.”
Before it is too late..
“I would rather talk to them then than talk to their mothers who want to get them to another place in the prison system. It’s just hard it’s difficult. I’ve seen it all before, but you never get used to it.
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