Funeral arrangements set for Cherokee firefighter, wife killed in Cobb home

Justin (left) and Amber Hicks were found shot and killed inside their Acworth home Thursday morning.
Caption
Justin (left) and Amber Hicks were found shot and killed inside their Acworth home Thursday morning.

Credit: South Canton Funeral Home

Funeral plans have been finalized for a Cherokee County firefighter and his wife who were found shot to death inside their home last week.

Justin and Amber Hicks, both 31, were found inside their Acworth home Thursday morning, Cobb County police spokesman Sgt. Wayne Delk said. The couple’s 2-year-old son was found unharmed in the home.

The funeral for the couple will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at His Hands Church at 550 Molly Lane in Woodstock. The burial will follow at Rolling Hills Memory Gardens at 4355 Ga. 92 in Acworth. The family will also be receiving friends from 4-8 p.m. Monday and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at His Hands Church.

A family friend created a GoFundMe campaign to help with the costs of raising and caring for the child and for funeral expenses. As of Monday afternoon, more than 700 people had contributed, amassing more than $51,000. Grappling with the loss, those who knew the couple “can’t understand it, and we are still as a family, and as a community processing it,” the page states.

Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services set up a donation drive to allow community members to drop off items for Justin and Amber’s son. The department spoke with the family and compiled a list of needs, which include diapers, shoes and seasonal clothing. Station 12 at 9081 Fincher Road in Waleska, station 20 at 6724 Bells Ferry Road in Woodstock and station 23 at 7625 Vaughn Road in Canton will be accepting donations and delivering items to the family weekly.

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Justin Hicks was a firefighter for more than six years, Chief Tim Prather said last week. Prather described Hicks as a highly motivated, energetic individual who had recently completed his paramedic training.

“Justin has touched and impacted many lives, and he will be dearly missed,” Prather said. “Our hearts are broken as we mourn the loss of a member of our family and his lovely wife.”

According to Delk, the shooting took place sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. On Saturday, 22-year-old Matthew Lanz of Acworth was identified as the suspect.

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Matthew Lanz is charged with felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, home invasion and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in the killing of Justin and Amber Hicks.

Credit: Sandy Springs Police Department

Matthew Lanz is charged with felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, home invasion and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in the killing of Justin and Amber Hicks.
Caption
Matthew Lanz is charged with felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, home invasion and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in the killing of Justin and Amber Hicks.

Credit: Sandy Springs Police Department

Credit: Sandy Springs Police Department

When Lanz was connected to the Cobb double homicide, he was already in the Fulton County Jail facing multiple charges related to a string of break-ins, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. Sandy Springs police spokesman Sgt. Sal Ortega said multiple homeowners reported burglaries before residents of a home on Cameron Glen Drive discovered an intruder inside. Once officers arrived, a struggle between Lanz and the officer ensued, he said. Lanz stabbed the Sandy Springs officer multiple times and another responding officer shot Lanz, Ortega said.

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In connection with the deaths of Justin and Amber Hicks, 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.

Authorities say Lanz lived directly around the corner from the home where Justin and Amber were killed. Lanz’s home on Delphinium Boulevard shares a backyard fence with the couple’s home.

Police have not said if the couple knew Lanz. A motive has not been provided.

Justin Hicks is survived by his parents, son, three siblings and three grandparents. Amber is survived by her father, son, three uncles, two aunts and grandmother.

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