- The shootings occurred a half-mile away from one another
- Suspect killed himself and was found hours later, police say
Authorities first discovered two women and a man fatally shot Friday night at one address in Appling, said Capt. Andy Shedd of Columbia County Sheriff's Office.
Shortly thereafter, police got a call of another crime scene a half-mile away in the same town. There, they found two other people shot dead -- a man and a woman, he said.
The shootings occurred about 40 minutes apart, police said.
"We believe the two shootings were related based on witness accounts," Shedd said.
Police: Victims related to suspect's wife
Authorities said they identified the suspect as Wayne Anthony Hawes, 50, and conducted surveillance on his home in Appling.
They entered the house after midnight Saturday and found the suspect dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"Also inside was evidence that the suspect attempted to set fire to the house, unsuccessfully," Shedd said.
Authorities said some of the victims were related to Hawes' wife.
The victims from the first shooting were identified as Roosevelt Burns, 75; Rheba Mae Dent, 85; and Kelia Clark, 31.
Police identified those killed at the second location as Lizzy Williams, 59; and Shelly Williams, 62.