DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. – A man had been arguing with his ex-wife over taxes and child support before he showed up at her house and killed her and three other people before fatally shooting himself, an investigator said Monday.
The shooting happened just after 3 p.m. Saturday as neighbors were outside enjoying unusually warm weather. Cedric G. Prather Jr., 33, parked about a quarter mile from the home and walked inside the suburban Atlanta home, fatally shooting his ex-wife, 33-year-old Latoya A. Andrews, and her boyfriend, 33-year-old Joseph Terry Brown, police said.
Prather also fatally shot two of his children, including one of whom a neighbor said begged him not to pull the trigger.
Prather left no note explaining his motive, Douglas County sheriff's Capt. Bruce Ferguson said.
"I can't tell you why he did it," Ferguson said. "All I can do is to say he snapped or he had enough is what we've concluded in our investigation."
The shooting happened in a subdivision in Douglasville, about 20 miles west of Atlanta. Prather killed his 7-year-old daughter, London, and 9-year-old son, Jerimiah. He shot and wounded two other children, who are in critical condition: Andrews' 15-year-old daughter, Demesha Owens, and Brown's 7-year-old daughter, Jada Brown.
A third child of Andrews and Prather, a 13-year-old boy, was not home at the time. Prather and Andrews were married for about 11 years and had been divorced about five years, Ferguson said.
There had been no prior reports of domestic violence and there was nothing in Prather's record that jumped out as a red flag, Ferguson said.
Neighbors heard gunshots within a few minutes of Prather's arrival and called 911, Ferguson said. A witness told police one of Prather's children was heard outside pleading with him not to shoot.
After the rampage, Prather killed himself in the street.
Friends of Prather told police that he had been upset and angry lately. One friend had called Prather to check up on him and was on the phone with him as the shooting happened.
Prather used a .45-caliber handgun to shoot all the victims and himself. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is working with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to trace the gun and determine whether he had it legally.
Teresa Carter, 59, said she heard the gunfire from inside her home but didn't see what happened. Carter said she often saw the children playing in the driveway and around the neighborhood. They enjoyed petting her dog.
"I heard shots, and I heard the girl scream," Carter said. "And then I heard four more shots."
Brandon Hallman was working on a car a few houses down when the shooting started.
"I heard a couple quick shots, you know, back to back to back. Went out there and, you know, looked and it was already over," Hallman said. "We just grabbed some towels and kind of went down there to try and help before the paramedics got here."