Gwinnett Daily Post – by Tyler Estep
DULUTH — A Wednesday morning home invasion left one man dead and two others — including a child — injured inside their Duluth home.
Duluth police spokesman Maj. Don Woodruff said dispatch received a 911 call at about 6:20 a.m. Wednesday reporting the incident on Summercrest Lane Two unidentified men are believed to have forced their way into the home — nestled in the quiet, middle-class neighborhood just off Rogers Bridge Road — with robbery on their minds.
“We understand the motivation to be robbery,” Woodruff said. “I don’t have any information on anything else at this time.”
The man of the house was shot and killed. His girlfriend, who also lived at the house, was also shot and transported with non-life threatening injuries. An 8-year-old girl was shot in the arm and transported to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish.
A 4-year-old girl was unharmed in the incident and is in protective custody.
None of their identities were released Wednesday morning. Detectives observed signs of forced entry, but weren’t saying if the victims were specifically targeted.
“I don’t know that right now,” Woodruff said. “(Investigators) may know, but they give me limited information to release.”
At about 10:30 a.m., a couple identified as the parents of the deceased man were escorted to the scene. They left shortly thereafter.
Woodruff said the department was not yet releasing information regarding suspects or their vehicle.
Twenty-two-year-old Hailey White has lived in the Rogers Mill subdivision for most of her life. She called it a family-oriented community and her mother, who asked not to be identified, said she often leaves her doors unlocked to do things like walk the dog.
“I guess if you could just describe it in one word it’d be disturbing,” the younger White said. “It’s haunting. At least if you know it was targeted or if there was a motive behind it — it sounds horrible to say that but at least it’s not just random houses.”
Woodruff said it was the first homicide in the city of Duluth this year. Though the medical examiner stopped short of ruling it a homicide due to scene manipulation and an “absence of trauma,” the most recent suspicious death within Duluth city limits had been on March 28, 2013.
The body of 57-year-old Donald Singer was found inside his Montheath Pass garage covered in a blanket and doused in bleach. Former neighbor Robert Craig Sandman, who was at one point erroneously released from a New Mexico jail, accepted a plea deal in the case last month and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Woodruff said his department rarely deals with such crimes.
“We just don’t have it here,” Woodruff said. “This is unusual for us.”
Woodruff said he expected detectives and other personnel to be at the scene on Summercrest Lane throughout the day and into the night.
The deceased male’s body was removed from the home around lunch time, as officers used a metal detector in the front yard — presumably to search for bullets or spent shell casings.
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