ATLANTA - A Cherokee County firefighter and his wife were found shot to death in their Cobb County home Thursday morning. Police the couple were killed by an unknown assailant sometime overnight. The couple's toddler was also in the home at the time but was not hurt.
"This is the nicest couple. They were young they had a young child. They just moved here and were so excited to be homeowners," said Hanna Mabrey, a next-door neighbor.
Throughout the day and well into the evening, Cobb County police and Cherokee County fire vehicles lined Verbena Drive in front of a home in the Chestnut Hills subdivision.
Cobb County police investigators said Timothy Justin Hicks and Amber Hicks, both 31, were found dead in their home.
"We woke up to the parents of the people who live there freaking out. Normally she was waking up early to take the kid to daycare, and she didn't," said Mabrey.
Police said the couple had been shot to death sometime overnight. Their 2-year-old child and a dog were in the house and were not harmed.
"The police bring the child out holding him by his torso, runs him out and the grandmother grabs him, and they're crying," said Mabrey.
Timothy Hicks has worked for the Cherokee County Fire Department since 2016.
Fellow firefighters from station 23 were at the home to support the family, as Crime Scene Investigators from Cobb County searched for evidence. Police said they do not believe whoever killed the couple is still in the area.
In a statement, the Cherokee County Fire Department said that Hicks had "always been recognized as a happy, funny, loved by many kind of guy."
"He was always a highly motivated, energetic individual who deeply loved his job as a firefighter and consistently worked to do better and be better every day," a spokesperson told FOX 5. "He was really thrilled on his recent accomplishment of completing his paramedic program training. Justin has touched and impacted many lives, and he will be dearly missed."
While that information may calm some fears in this neighborhood, it doesn't ease the heartache of what happened to their friends.
"The whole neighborhood came together over it to support their family. They were really sweet people, I can't imagine who did this to them," said Mabrey.
Police investigate a deadly double shooting at a home near Acworth on Nov. 18, 2021.
Friday afternoon, the Cherokee County Fire Chief Tim Prather issued a statement that reads:
"It is a sad day for our department to officially announce the loss of our brother, Justin Hicks, who was found deceased yesterday along with his wife, Amber Hicks. Firefighter Justin Hicks has been a member of Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Service for over 6 years. He has always been recognized as a happy, funny, loved by many kind of guy. He was always a highly motivated, energetic individual who deeply loved his job as a firefighter and consistently worked to do better and be better every day. He was really thrilled on his recent accomplishment of completing his paramedic program training. Justin has touched and impacted many lives, and he will be dearly missed. Our hearts are broken as we mourn the loss of a member of our family and his lovely wife. Cherokee County Fire sends out our most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Justin Hicks. We ask that everyone please respect the privacy of the Hicks family and our fire family as we mourn our loss and prepare for the coming days. There is still an active investigation taking place, and no other comments will be released at this time."
Anyone with information is asked to call 770-499-3945.