Authorities believe a 46-year-old Franklin County man killed the owner of a German-style restaurant on Lake Hartwell on Sunday before abducting and killing his ex-wife and then himself.
Sammy D. Chumley murdered his ex-wife, Laurie Chumley, 38, who was an employee of the restaurant, and Jason Forkin, the 40-year-old owner of Frohmullers Grill Shop and Bait, said Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland on Monday.
The violence started shortly before 11:30 p.m. when “at closing time Sammy came in the door with a large caliber pistol and began shooting,” Cleveland said. “Jason was shot and killed and he died of a gunshot wound to the head. I was the first one there and when I got to Mr. Forkin, he had died and there wasn’t any doubt.”
Two other employees in the restaurant ran outside and hid when the shooting started, Cleveland said. There were also two other employees in the kitchen, who laid on the floor and stayed quiet, he said.
The sheriff said he did not know if Forkin was specifically targeted in the shooting.
The witnesses, a man and woman, met with Cleveland when he arrived at the restaurant located on Rock Springs Road along Lake Hartwell.
“They told me that the shooter was gone and that he had abducted Laurie,” the sheriff said. “They said he came in the door and it was like whoever was there was going to die.”
Since both Chumleys lived in Franklin County, Hart County contacted the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for assistance in locating the suspect and Laurie Chumley.
A deputy drove to the location of a burned home on Muddy Branch Road sometime after 2 a.m., where Sammy Chumley had once lived, and heard gunshots, Cleveland said. Chumley and his ex-wife both died of gunshot wounds to their heads, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The deputy found a parked car with both bodies. Chumley had killed his ex-wife then shot himself in the head, he said.
Chumley had a reputation of being possessive of his ex-wife, Cleveland said, and he had an arrest record for domestic abuse in Franklin County.
Laurie Chumley was the mother of two small girls, the sheriff said.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the investigation.