5 killed in Douglas County: Gunman stopped and re-loaded

The man accused of killing his ex-wife, her boyfriend and two children had enough ammunition to shoot even more people, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

At some point during the shooting spree, Cedric Prather stopped to reload the .45-caliber handgun, Capt. Bruce Ferguson said. Prather used the same gun to then shoot and kill himself, according to police.

Investigators believe it was an argument over child support and taxes that led Prather to fire multiple shots Saturday afternoon, leaving two other children critically injured. Prather didn’t threaten anything ahead of time or leave a note behind, investigators said Monday. But he had exchanged text messages and phone calls with his ex-wife earlier Saturday.

“He just snapped or had enough,” Ferguson said.

After parking his car about a quarter-mile from his ex-wife’s Willow Tree Circle home, Prather was seen pacing in the street. Then, he walked to the house. Deputies can only speculate on what happened in the moments before shots were fired.

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Prather fired at least eight shots, and had more bullets with him, according to police. When he was done, five people were dead, including Prather. The gun was found at the scene, but deputies had not determined Monday where Prather got it.

Latoya Andrews and her boyfriend, Joseph Brown, both 33, were shot inside the Willow Tree Circle house, along with 9-year-old Jerimiah Prather, according to deputies. All three shot inside the home were killed.

Then, Prather allegedly chased his own daughter, a stepdaughter and another young girl outside, where he shot all three, according to witnesses and police. London Prather, 7, died. Andrews’ oldest child, 15-year-old Demesha Owens, and Brown’s daughter, Jada, 8, were critically injured. Both of the injured girls remained hospitalized Monday, and will be cared for by surviving relatives.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday, neighbors were startled by the screams and the gunfire. Before police and paramedics could get to the neighborhood, some on the street did all they could to help the injured.

Deputies arrived to find a shocking scene, and one that even law enforcement veterans said they never imagined could happen. Andrews’ 13-year-old son wasn’t home during the shootings, but saw the patrol cars when he was being taken home from his basketball game, police said. Had he been at home, that teen would likely have also been a victim.

“This is something you don’t get out of your head,” Ferguson said. “Nobody on the scene from the sheriff to the deputy coroner, no one has stopped thinking about this.”

Sheriff Phil Miller is making counselors available to his deputies struggling to deal with the deadly case.

Late Sunday, an online fundraising page was created to assist with burial costs for Andrews and two of her children. An organizer of the fundraiser said Andrews and her children did not have insurance.

Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.

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