Law enforcement officials in Georgia are investigating the shooting of five family members who were gunned down on July 22. Four of them died due to their injuries and investigators have now ruled the incident a murder-suicide.
Matthew Fields, 32, allegedly shot Rebecca Manning, 37, and her sons Jared and Jacob Smith, 8 and 9, in their Forsyth County home, Forsyth News reports.
Fields was either Manning’s boyfriend or husband, according to Forsyth News. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution identifies Fields as Manning's estranged husband. He died due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Manning’s father Jerry Manning, 75, was also shot. He survived, but has several gunshot wounds and was taken to hospital where he remains in critical condition.
Jared was about to enter the second grade at Johns Creek Elementary School in Forsyth County and Jacob was slated to enter the fourth grade.
The two boys were reportedly in their beds when they were murdered.
Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper said the two boys as well as the shooter were pronounced dead at the scene and Rebecca died later at the hospital.
Deputies have reportedly responded to domestic calls at the house before, though none of them had been violent previously.
According to Forsyth County Sheriff Maj. Rick Doyle, the last dispute deputies responded to was primarily verbal and that they “did not see anything that would indicate there was a physical confrontation.”
Though the last domestic dispute call -- which occurred on the night of July 21 -- was related to an issue with Fields, he was not in the home when police arrived and Manning told police that nothing was going on, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He returned home the next morning and shot the family.
Fields reportedly later called his mother to inform her he had murdered the family and intended to kill himself. His mother then called 911.
Police intend to investigate the motivation for the murders.
“There’s no reason we’re ever going to understand why he shot an entire family,” Doyle said. He continued to say that there were “various indications they had been having relationship issues.”
Photo credit: Alexis Stevens, AJC