A father abducted his 1-year-old daughter, then shot and killed the child’s mother Saturday in Newton County before turning his gun on the child and himself on Sunday morning in Clayton County, according to law enforcement. Investigators said they’re still trying to figure out what triggered the violence, turning a quiet Covington neighborhood into the scene of a bloody nightmare.
An Amber Alert went out when the 1-year-old Jaquari Bennett’s grandmother, who the father also shot, told police the father left with the toddler. Officials said Jaquari Bennett, who was abducted by her father Darian Javaris Bennett Saturday night, was shot to death hours after he killed her mother and shot her grandmother in the head.
“He killed the baby and then himself…a coward does that. What is the world coming to?” the victim’s neighbor Fred McClurkin said.
A quiet Newton County neighborhood became the scene of a bloody nightmare on June 11, 2022. A mother was shot dead and her baby abducted, prompting an amber alert. (FOX 5 Atlanta)
The incident started late Saturday night at a home inside a Covington neighborhood. It ended on the property of Riverdale United Methodist Church where authorities said Bennett called 911 threatening to kill himself just after 7 p.m. Sunday morning. Before police could get to them, Bennett shot his daughter behind the church on Riverdale Road and then took his own life.
“I just could not believe it. I was just in shock because we’ve never had anything like this happen on our property,” Riverdale UMC member Cynthia King told Fox 5.
She said church leaders were just arriving to prepare for services when they were notified about what happened just a few hundred feet from their place of worship.
“The fact that something like this happened here again makes you just want to cry out to God because we need prayer. People are hurting,” King said.
According to officials, Bennett shot and killed Jaquari’s mother, who had two other children. Investigators said he also shot the baby’s grandmother twice in the head before he took off with her. She remains in critical condition.
“It’s crazy…the kids are crying, their mothers gone, their grandmother doesn’t know what’s gonna happen…she’s in the trauma unit,” McClurkin explained.
The close friend of the family said he witnessed the initial scene.
“I walk out and cops are everywhere.”
Residents in Riverdale who live nearby the church said they didn’t know the gunshots they heard that morning were related to the amber alert they woke up to find.
“Did not know it was this close to me…did not know…wow, I can’t believe this,” Dominique Scobridge told Fox 5. “When y’all get those amber alerts get out and look around…get out and look around because you never know,” she added.
Investigators said they don’t know what triggered this and aren’t familiar with any prior arrests for Bennett or known mental illness but hope to have more information in the coming days.
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