Dooly County deaths: Man killed woman, toddler before shooting himself


Highlights

Priscilla Adams and Jashun Ingram were found dead outside a Byromville home Jan. 25.

Authorities say Willie Merrell fired the shots before turning the gun on himself. 

A 17-year-old was also injured in the gunfire. 

Officials are still trying to determine a motive. 

Nearly two weeks after three people, including a toddler, were found dead in a small Middle Georgia town, state and local authorities have no clue what led to the fatal shootings. 

At a news conference Monday, GBI officials confirmed Willie Merrell shot and killed 47-year-old caretaker Priscilla Adams and 17-month-old Jashun Ingram at a Byromville home on Jan. 25. 

Merrell was found just yards away, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His rifle was found “within arms reach” of his body, GBI agent J.T. Ricketson said.

A 17-year-old girl, who has not been identified, was also injured during the gunfire. 

MORE: 

Toddler, 2 adults found shot to death ID’d

Deaths of toddler, caretaker being treated as homicides, GBI says

Ricketson said Merrell walked across the street and fired several rounds from his gun, killing Adams and Ingram. He then walked back to his home and fatally shot himself. His body was found by police dogs nearly five hours after the first shooting was reported. 

Merrell’s prints were on the gun and the bullets matched the rifle used in the shooting, Ricketson said. 

But the big question in the investigation has left authorities wondering: Why? 

“We would like to know the ‘why’ and sometimes we get that when we’re working these cases,” Ricketson said, “but in this case the ‘why’ is with Mr. Merrell ...” 

Dooly County Sheriff Van Peavy said there hadn’t been a history of conflict between the two homes. Authorities had been called to the home where Adams and Ingram were found dead about disturbances, but Peavy didn’t elaborate on the nature of those calls. Officials did not say who lived at the home where the bodies were found. 

“I don’t know of anything in our file that would go back to any confrontation,” Peavy said at the news conference. 

For now, Ricketson said he’s sticking with the facts of the case. 

“There are a lot of theories in the community,” he said, “but again, we have to find the facts and stick to the evidence.” 

Peavy said he is not sure how the fatal shooting will affect the quiet community of 500, but he said his job now is to help the city and county heal: “There’s no good ending to this story.”

In other news:



Next Up in Local

Gwinnett sheriff offering firearms training class for local teachers
Gwinnett sheriff offering firearms training class for local teachers

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway is offering a responsible firearms carry and safety course for local teachers at the end of March, the sheriff’s office announced on Facebook. After 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, some, including President Donald Trump...
Woman shot in head didn’t know it for 2 months; boyfriend wanted by FBI
Woman shot in head didn’t know it for 2 months; boyfriend wanted by FBI

The FBI is asking for the public’s help locating a fugitive wanted on assault charges. Jerrontae Cain, 38, is wanted on charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with an attack on his girlfriend, police said. Atlanta police said Cain’s 41-year-old girlfriend went to...
Learn what it’s like to be a cop at Gwinnett Citizens Police Academy
Learn what it’s like to be a cop at Gwinnett Citizens Police Academy

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Gwinnett County police officers do their jobs at the next Gwinnett County Police Department Citizens Police Academy. The academy is a twice weekly program that will run from March 20 to May 10. Sessions meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. READ | Ex-KSU player arrested in $3M identity fraud...
DeKalb effort to relocate Confederate monument generates no interest
DeKalb effort to relocate Confederate monument generates no interest

DeKalb County hasn’t received any proposals for relocating a Confederate monument located at the old county courthouse. As a result, the deadline for submissions was extended 30 days. Zachary Williams, the county’s chief operating officer, said outreach efforts like newspaper ads are being planned in hopes of creating leads. ...
I-75 express lanes schedule will change for NASCAR traffic
I-75 express lanes schedule will change for NASCAR traffic

A NASCAR tripleheader weekend kicks off today at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Henry County, and Peach Pass customers will see changes to the toll lanes along I-75 to accommodate the traffic pouring in and out of Henry County. The South Metro Express lanes will remain in the northbound direction for most of the weekend, from 1 p.m. Saturday until 11...
More Stories