11-year-old girl, her father dead after domestic violence shooting, Barrow County sheriff says

Investigators want to know why a Winder man shot his girlfriend and his 11-year-old daughter on Monday evening before turning the gun on himself. The shooting claimed the life of the sixth-grade student and her father.

The Winder residence was eerily quiet Tuesday afternoon with no evidence of the tragedy that unfolded less than 24 hours earlier.

Barrow County Sheriff's deputies say they were responding around 7:40 p.m. Monday to a domestic disturbance call on Celestial Run.

"We heard like three, four shots," said neighbor Amya Peters.

Neighbors say they heard an argument, then the shots, and then the cries for help.

"The lady ran out and she was like, ‘He shot me,’" Peters said.

Hollifield told deputies Ahearn had shot her and then himself.

As deputies made their way inside the home, they found the body of 11-year-old Angelique Ahearn and 59-year-old Leonard Ahearn suffering from gunshot wounds.

"A young person, an 11-year-old in this case, was brutally murdered. It's tough for us to deal with for us to have to witness," said Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith.

Sheriff Smith says the girl's father shot her before turning the gun on himself. The child was pronounced dead at the scene. Medics transported Ahearn to Athens Regional Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

"We learned late last night that one of our middle school students had passed away suddenly, unexpectedly," said Barrow County Schools Assistant Superintendent Ken Greene.

The sixth-grader attended Russell Middle School. A team of counselors and social workers were dispatched to the campus Tuesday to offer support to students and school staff.

"We've offered opportunity for students and faculty to meet individually with counselors, to meet in small groups. Just to take time and process their grief," said Greene.

Sheriff Smith says they had not responded to any prior domestic calls at the residence and hope to learn more about what sparked the deadly shooting once Hollifield, who suffered a gunshot wound to the hand, has recovered from her injuries.

"We don't know what circumstances led up to the arguing started and why it went from zero to 100 that quick," the sheriff said.