Suspect in 2 Cobb homicides is brother of man who stabbed officer near Pentagon in August

Matthew Lanz, a 22-year-old man charged with the shooting deaths of a Cobb County couple and the stabbing of a Sandy Springs police officer, is the brother of a man who made national headlines less than four months ago when he fatally stabbed a police officer at a bus stop near the Pentagon.

The Sandy Springs Police Department confirmed Matthew Lanz is the younger brother of Austin William Lanz. Back in August, after stabbing officer George Gonzalez, 27-year-old Austin Lanz used the officer’s service weapon to kill himself outside the headquarters of the U.S. military, the FBI Washington field office said.

Matthew Lanz, accused of stabbing a Sandy Springs police officer on Friday, has been charged in the deaths of a firefighter and his wife who were shot at their Cobb County home earlier in the week.

Matthew Lanz of Acworth was being held at the Fulton County Jail facing multiple charges related to a Sandy Springs break-in. Police say he stabbed an officer who responded. Another officer shot Lanz, who was treated at a hospital before he was taken into custody.

Cobb police have since identified Lanz as the suspect in the fatal shootings of Justin Thompson Hicks and his wife, Amber Hicks, both 31. Police found the couple dead inside their Acworth home around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, hours after the shootings took place. He remains at the Fulton County Jail as of Saturday.

The couple’s 2-year-old son was found unharmed in the home and is now with family members.

Lanz is facing two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, home invasion and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Cobb police said.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office told Channel 2 Action News that Matthew Lanz lived directly around the corner from the home where Hicks and his wife were killed earlier this week. Lanz’s home on Delphinium Boulevard shares a backyard fence with the couple’s home.

ExploreSuspect in Cobb homicides, officer’s stabbing faces 43 charges in 2 metro Atlanta counties

According to a booking report from the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, Austin Lanz lived at the same address as his brother but it’s unclear whether they lived at this house on Delphinium Boulevard at the same time.

After the killing of the police officer near the Pentagon, neighbors in Cobb County later told The Washington Post of how Austin Lanz, the son of their neighbors, had repeatedly stalked and harassed them, including “smashing through (their) back door with a sledgehammer” while they weren’t home.

Court records showed that Austin Lanz had open criminal cases in Cobb on several charges, including aggravated battery against an officer, terroristic threats and burglary.

Many questions remain about the Cobb County killings. It’s unclear what relationship, if any, Matthew Lanz had with the Hicks family and police have not released a motive for their slayings.

Justin Hicks worked with Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services for more than six years, police said. Neighbors told Channel 2 Action News the couple had recently moved into the Chestnut Hill neighborhood off Bells Ferry Road.

Credit: Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services

Credit: Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services

An organizer of a GoFund for Justin & Hicks Memorial Expenses asks for support and prayers for “this little boy & this family.”

“On November 18th, we woke up to a nightmare. Our Amber & Justin have been taken from us in such a senseless act. We can’t understand it, and we are still as a family, and as a community processing it. Two literal angels on Earth have been taken too soon. They had their whole life ahead of them, and they leave behind a precious little boy,” the fundraiser reads.

The Sandy Springs shooting marked the end of a string of early morning break-ins in a neighborhood off Heards Ferry Road. Multiple homeowners reported burglaries before residents of a home on Cameron Glen Drive discovered an intruder inside, said Sandy Springs Police spokesman Sgt. Sal Ortega.

The officer who was stabbed on Friday was taken to a hospital and has since been released, police said.

Staff writer Tyler Wilkins and data specialist Jennifer Peebles contributed to this report.