Friends and neighbors in Athens are wrestling to understand what happened after someone killed two of their own family members before committing suicide. The three bodies were found Saturday morning.
The double murder-suicide happened at a home near the intersection of Highway 99 and Market Street. That's where WAAY 31 got the chance to talk with people who knew the victims.
"That’s the most shocking thing I’ve heard in almost my entire life," said Austin Passwater when he first heard about the double murder-suicide that happened just a few doors down from his home. "What has happened is absolutely atrocious and it is no way acceptable in any type of civilized area," he said. And what makes it worse, Passwater says, is that one person among the dead was a close friend of his. "Worked on cars and yada yada. It’s been a staple in my life since I can remember," he told WAAY 31.
Passwater says he still can't comprehend that his friend was involved in such a heinous crime. "The most friendly and personable individual you could ever want to meet," he said. "Just so hospitable and gracious and stuff." And Passwater isn't the only one who was surprised by the news. "Kind of scares you a little bit," said Paul Smith. "Makes you stop and think about who’s around you and what’s going on.”
Smith says he never expected a crime like this to happen in his quiet neighborhood, saying he hates that someone killed two innocent people—and family members at that. "There’s nothing that a person in their right mind would’ve found that serious," he said. "To take other people out, instead of just yourself, I feel like is very selfish of somebody," Passwater added.
Passwater says this is something that is going to stick with the neighborhood for a long time to come. "I feel like it will probably shake up the community," he said. "I feel like this isn’t one of those things that’s necessarily just going to blow over in a day or two. People are going to be talking about it for a slight little while."