APPLING, GA (WFXG) - On the night that Wayne Hawes wreaked havoc on this tight-knit Appling community, first responders were scrambling -- trying to make sense of what was happening. Three separate calls came through to Columbia County Dispatch -- all from family members who were terrified and begging for help.
The first call was just before 8 o'clock. Family members of 85-year-old Rheba Mae Dent were in a panic after finding both her and Roosevelt Burns shot dead in their backyard.
"Can you send the police to 3160 Johnson Drive? My grandma and my uncle just got shot, they're dead… by my uncle Wayne Hawes."
The caller went on to tell dispatchers that Hawes had been dating his aunt. She'd recently broken things off with him before this heinous turn of events.
"I told them that stupid mother was gone do something crazy! I told them! I've got a cousin right here. She's still living; she's been shot, too! "
Kelia Clark was still alive while her cousin begged for help, but died later that night at the hospital.
Columbia County officials say they now believe Hawes started his rampage on Washington Road where Lizzy and Shelly Williams were found dead. As word of the shootings traveled through town, a frantic caller sent her husband to check on the Williams'.
Dispatch: Hello, ma'am?
Caller: Yes, ma'am!
Dispatch: What's going on?
Caller: Somebody been going around shooting!
Her husband called 9-1-1 a few minutes later, confirming their worst nightmare.
Caller: I tried to move them, nobody moved. Look, we need somebody up here quick!
Dispatch: They are coming as they can.
Caller: The cops went right by the house. Where are they going?"
With two active scenes within minutes of each other, first responders did their best to sort through the details and give assistance. Once the dust settled, five people were dead. Officials say they arrived to both scenes within six minutes of each call.
Later that night, Hawes was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. His daughter has said her mother had recently decided to leave Hawes. The sheriff's office may never know for sure what caused Hawes to snap -- or have a definite timeline of the events that night.