‘All 3 are rejoicing in heaven’: Faith guided slain Coweta family members

One funeral planned Thursday for three members of Hawk family
Three members of the Hawk family, Richard (from left), Evelyn and Luke, were killed Friday night at a Coweta County business.

Credit: Family photos

Credit: Family photos

Three members of the Hawk family, Richard (from left), Evelyn and Luke, were killed Friday night at a Coweta County business.

When he got the call, Gary Stallings drove as fast as he could to a Coweta County gun range. By then, his best friend was already there, standing beside crime scene tape and numerous officers.

“We hugged and cried and I was telling him how sorry I was,” Stallings told a church congregation Sunday.

As one of the deputies to veteran Coweta coroner Richard Hawk, Stallings said the two had been friends for more than two decades and worked together with grieving families. This time, it was Hawk dealing with that grief after his parents and 18-year-old son were shot to death in what investigators believe started as a robbery at the Lock Stock and Barrel shooting range in Grantville.

Hawk had a powerful reply to Stallings: “Gary, you know it’s OK. All three are rejoicing in heaven.”

The shootings shocked the small community and those who knew the family through work and school, but also their faith. Tommy Richard Hawk Sr. and Evelyn Gail Hawk, both 75 and residents of Sharpsburg, shared Bible quotes on the website for their business. Quality customer service was a goal.

“If we don’t have it, we will get it,” the website stated before being shut down Monday morning.

Faith played a central role in the lives of the Hawk family — from the youngest to the oldest.

The Hawks have been members of Emmanuel Baptist Church in the Newnan area, which has about 50 members, for decades. Evelyn Hawk played the piano and her husband was a prayer warrior always willing to pray for those who were ill or just needed to hear the Lord’s word.

Authorities continue to investigate the triple murder at a Grantville gun range.

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The congregation is grieving and hurt, “yet in the midst of all this, we have a great sense of hope that Christ is really working through us,” the Rev. Ben Sprenger, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist, said Monday.

“They were sweet people,” said Sprenger, who was named pastor about a year and a half ago, succeeding Evelyn Hawk’s brother in the pulpit. He said the Hawks took him under their wings and treated him like a grandson, inviting him and his family over for a good Southern dinner.

“They were just real people who loved God with all of their hearts and they were bold in their faith, sharing the Gospel. They prayed often for people to get saved.”

Sprenger broke down several times as he talked about how he would miss making eye contact with Evelyn as she sat at the piano playing softly as the service was winding down.

The Hawks’ grandson, Alexander “Luke” Hawk, was reserved but also had that spiritual fire and “wanted to give God everything he had.”

Luke worked the soundboard and his favorite song was “Leave With Nothing Left,” by the Clark Family.

Call it God’s hand, said Sprenger, but just a week ago he randomly called on Luke to pray at the close of Sunday School. Luke was usually the first in the building to make coffee “and we’d pray together. He was living out what his parents passed on to him.”

A senior at East Coweta High School, Luke was enrolled in a work-based learning program that allowed him to help his grandparents at their business, Principal Stephen Allen said Monday.

“He was a very gifted kid, smart, made great grades,” Allen said. “He had a determination about him.”

Luke had just picked up his cap and gown the week before spring break, according to a classmate. During the May 25 graduation ceremony, his diploma will be presented to his family, Allen said.

Chip Klein, a military gun collector and customer, said he had spoken with Richard Hawk Sr. at the gun range days before he was killed.

“He wanted only the best for me like I was one of his own,” Klein said. “He was super excited to hear that I got a job with the forest service out in Idaho and was looking forward to me sending him pictures of the Pacific Northwest. I last spoke with him on March 31st and said, ‘I’ll be sure to stop by at least one more time before I leave on the 21st of April.’”

“I’ll look forward to it,” Hawk had replied.

As the range was preparing to close Friday, the business was robbed, sometime between 5:30 and 6 p.m., according to investigators. About 40 weapons and the security camera DVR were stolen, and the three family members were shot to death, police said.

The GBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting Grantville police and the Coweta sheriff’s office with the investigation. A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the triple homicide and armed robbery.

“This has been really, really bad for the city of Grantville,” police Chief Steve Whitlock told reporters Monday afternoon. “I’ve been here eight years and never seen anything like this before.”

While the investigation continued Monday, funeral plans were being finalized. The grandparents and grandson died together, and one funeral for all three is planned.

Visitation will be held Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at Unity Baptist Church in Newnan. The funeral will be held at the church at 2 p.m. Thursday, according to McKoon Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements.

“Nothing hurts worse than losing loved ones, but losing three at one time is heart-wrenching,” a relative, Felicia Hawk Walker, posted on a GoFundMe page created to help the family. “To say that they will be missed is an understatement. No words can describe the pain my family feels.”

Sprenger has spoken with the family, who will be “walking through this for the rest of their lives and the church is walking with them. Most of all, the Lord is with them.”

He said Richard Hawk’s desire and prayer is that the people or person who killed his parents and son are apprehended “so he can share the Gospel with them. God put it on his heart to love them and forgive them. They still believe in God’s glory.”


The ATF: Anyone with information is asked to contact the ATF by calling 888-283-8477, emailing ATFTips@atf.gov or visiting the tip line at www.atf.gov/contact/atf-tips. Those with information can also submit an anonymous tip through the ReportIt app by visiting www.reportit.com.

The GBI: Anyone who visited the Lock, Stock and Barrel Shooting Range or saw anything along Bohannon Road on Friday is asked to call the GBI Tip Line at 1-800-597-TIPS.