Austin Tyler, 20, armed with a handgun, shot three people — killing 64-year-old Royce Hobgood — at 15 Brent Circle about 3:30 p.m. and wounding a fourth person on Milam Bridge Road. Tyler then carjacked a pickup near River Oaks and led police on a chase, killing himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head just before a fiery crash at Burnt Hickory Road and West Avenue.
Law enforcement officials are awaiting toxicology results for both Tyler and Hobgood, but it is not believed autopsies will be conducted.
Sheriff Clark Millsap said Tuesday — and again Wednesday — that authorities are searching for a motive behind Tyler’s actions but drugs were a speculation.
“I just want to know why,” he said.
A Facebook page for Tyler shows a young man with glasses holding a long gun while taking a selfie photo in a mirror.
Comments on the social media site concerning Tyler included statements that indicated the former Woodland High School student may have been under the influence during Tuesday’s incident.
“I knew him very well and yes he did do it man but he was on some drugs man he wasent thinking right dnt blame him rip tater,” one man wrote.
“Yeah I figured he had to be on something because this doesn’t sound like him to hurt people,” a second man wrote on the site.
A female wrote that Tyler “got ahold of bad molly.”
Tyler had a limited criminal history in Bartow County — one prior arrest for criminal trespass under the Family Violence Act.
Hobgood, according to the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office website, was a registered sex offender, listed as a resident of 110 Dobson Drive in Euharlee. Millsap said Hobgood had moved to the area from Florida.
Investigators on Wednesday visited Grady Memorial Hospital where the two men wounded on Brent Circle are being treated. Millsap said the two victims are not being identified at this time.
According to the sheriff, one man was shot in the neck, which clipped his spine, and left him paralyzed from the neck down. The second suffered a “double lung shot” and remains in intensive care.
“It’s not good,” Millsap said of the prognosis for both men.
Investigators continue to work on locating and talking with witnesses who may have fled the scene when the shooting began.