Bartow Co. investigators ID shooting spree suspect - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Bartow Co. investigators ID shooting spree suspect

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BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. - Investigators in Bartow County have released the identity of a man responsible for a shooting spree that left two people dead and three others shot on Tuesday. 

Bartow County Sheriff Clark Milsap tells FOX 5 News that Austin Denzel Tyler, 20, started with a shooting on Brent Circle sometime after 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Tyler opened fire on a group of people who were working on a home at the location.

Royce Hobgood, 64, died in the shooting and two other victims were flown to Grady Memorial Hospital with gunshot wounds. Hobgood was also known as "Pops."

The sheriff said Tyler then drove down Milam Bridge Road and ended up at a home on River Oaks Drive. There, he rammed his car into the side of the house, kicked the door in and shot the person inside in the hand.

Tyler fled the shooting scene in his car and ended up ramming a truck on Euharlee Road just blocks away from the home.

After shooting a couple of holes into that vehicle, he stole it, holding the driver, Ronnie Harris, and his 12-year-old grandson at gunpoint and then took off again. Harris and his grandson were not hurt.

"He said 'I want your truck, I want your money. If you ain't got no money, I want your truck' and the gun was two inches from my nose," said Harris.

Deputies were able to catch up with Tyler at Georgia Highway 113. He led them on a brief chase before slamming into a lawn care trailer causing the equipment inside to explode. He was pulled from the vehicle by deputies. That is when they found that he had an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"[My brother] was an innocent victim. He was there helping somebody remodel their house. And now he has to suffer," Beth Thacker told FOX 5's Chris Shaw.

Thacker says her brother, Steven Teitsort, had been working with Hobgood and Tyler for more than a month, rehabbing a friend's home. A fourth man was also doing work.

According to Thacker, Tuesday afternoon, something strange happened to Tyler. She says her brother told her, he began suggesting that he drugged the other workers' drinks.

"[Teitsort] called the guy he was working for on the house and told him that he was calling the law and reporting [Tyler], because that wasn't right," said Thacker. She says Tyler reacted by getting violent toward Teitsort and that's when Hobgood stepped in and was shot. Investigators say Tyler then shot Teitsort in the neck and his family says he's now paralyzed. Investigators also say Tyler shot a man in the lungs.

Sheriff Milsap says they are looking into what prompted Tyler to go on a shooting spree, but he says right now all they have is speculation to go.

"There was no doubt that he intended to cause bodily harm especially to this house and the house he went to because the action he took were of someone who was intent upon doing something to somebody," said Sheriff Milsap.

Milsap hopes the two other victims from the first scene that were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital will pull through so they might shed some light on the man's motives.

The Bartow County Sheriff's Offie says they hope to learn more about Tyler's motive later this week.


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