CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. -- Authorities are investigating after two people were found, Friday morning, shot to death in an apparent murder-suicide.
According to the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded around 8:30 a.m. to the 200 block of Clay Wade Road. When they got there, they found a man and a woman dead inside the home.
"Both were deceased from gunshot wounds," Cherokee County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Marianne Kelley said. "We, at this point, are suspecting it's a murder-suicide."
Investigators have since identified the two as 49-year-old Shawn Porter and 43-year-old Laura Pearson, both of Waleska, Ga. They have also determined that Pearson killed Porter in the rear bedroom before taking her own life.
One neighbor, Janet Wade, told 11Alive's Jon Shirek at the scene that they heard a noise around 10 p.m. Thursday that sounded like firecrackers. With July 4 just days before, Wade said she had been hearing firecrackers in the area in the past few days.
"I really didn't think nothing about it," she said.
On Friday morning, though, a friend of Porter called 911 after he hadn't seen him recently. Deputies went to the house to do a welfare check, which is when they found the two shot to death.
Wade saw the deputies swarming that day and has been able to think of little else since then.
"I cannot believe it," she said. "You know, it's just - cannot believe it."
Investigators don't yet have a motive but said the incident potentially started as a domestic dispute. Detectives found evidence that several shots were fired in addition to the fatal ones.
Crime scene investigators worked into the night gathering evidence and are just beginning to piece together what was going on in the couple's lives that would have led to such a violent end.
As for how one neighbor, Ward says she's in disbelief.
"He's been living there for quite a few years, you know, always very helpful," she said. "He helped my parents, you know, if they needed anything done."
She said Pearson, Porter's girlfriend, moved in with him but had not lived there as long as he had.
They were good neighbors, Ward said, and no one had any clue of problems. And neither did the sheriff's office - until the call that led to the tragic discovery on Friday.
11Alive's Jon Shirek is following this story and will have the latest on 11Alive News at 10 and 11 p.m.