GRANTVILLE — A coroner who discovered three of his family members slain in the robbery of their Georgia gun range says they are now "rejoicing in heaven." A funeral for all three is set for Thursday, as family and friends mourn their deaths and a police hunt is continuing for the killer.
Among those to discover the bodies was the local coroner, Richard Hawk. He said his parents and teenage son were shot to death Friday at their family business, Lock Stock & Barrel Shooting Range in Grantville, a small town southwest of Atlanta.
Gary Stallings, a close friend, told a church congregation Sunday how Hawk reacted after the bodies were found, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
"All three are rejoicing in heaven," Hawk told Stallings.
Grantville police identified the victims as the gun range owner, Thomas Hawk, 75; his wife, Evelyn, 75; and their grandson, Luke, 17.
As many as 40 guns and the range's surveillance camera were also stolen, investigators said. A reward of $15,000 has been posted for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers in the case, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said. No arrests have been announced.
Friends and relatives described the Hawks as a deeply religious family whose members were well-known and well-respected in the small community where they operated Lock Stock & Barrel for nearly 30 years. Luke had been on spring break from school, helping his grandparents at the business.
For decades, the Hawks have been members of Emmanuel Baptist Church in the Newnan area, where Evelyn Hawk played the piano and her husband was always praying for those who were sick or just needed to hear the Lord's Word, the Atlanta newspaper reported.
"They were just real people who loved God with all of their hearts and they were bold in their faith, sharing the Gospel. They prayed often for people to get saved," said the Rev. Ben Sprenger of Emmanuel Baptist Church.
Luke Hawk had just picked up his high school graduation cap and gown the week before spring break. He worked the soundboard in church, and his favorite song was "Leave With Nothing Left," Sprenger said.
He "wanted to give God everything he had," Sprenger said, adding that he "was living out what his parents passed on to him."
A service is planned at 2 p.m. Thursday at Unity Baptist Church in Newnan, the McKoon Funeral Home announced.