A sheriff's deputy and three members of his family were found shot to death Tuesday at the deputy's suburban Atlanta home in an apparent murder-suicide carried out by the deputy's stepson, authorities said.
Paulding County sheriff's deputies found the four bodies when they went to check on the house in Hiram, in the western suburbs of Atlanta, after Detective Cpl. Sam Driskell failed to show up for court, Sheriff Gary Gulledge told reporters.
Besides Driskell, 52, also killed were his wife, Muachin; his stepson, Felix Almonte, 21; and the Driskells' 12-year-old daughter, Carolyn. All had gunshot wounds to the head. State and local authorities said Almonte was believed to have been the gunman.
Gulledge and Gary Ramey, special agent in charge for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said evidence at the scene indicated that Almonte shot Driskell with a .45 caliber Glock pistol overnight while Driskell was asleep, then his stepsister and his stepmother, and then himself.
Driskell was a decorated 10-year veteran of the sheriff's department who worked in the crimes against children unit. Gulledge called him "one of the best guys we've ever had."
"Somebody asked me how we're going to replace him. I've got a whole office full of people who are distraught," Gulledge said. But "we'll continue to do our job and go on. We'll be OK."