Crime investigators would later pin the two events on one man: 22-year-old Matthew Lanz. Court records show he and his brother have a history of crime in the area. Cobb County police said Lanz shot and killed Amber and Justin Hicks last week. The couple was found dead inside their home in Acworth with a toddler left unharmed.
About 24 hours later, a Sandy Springs police officer was stabbed while confronting a home intruder, according to investigators. Authorities named the Hicks’ neighbor, Matt Lanz as a suspect in both violent events.
The Lanz family had a long history of problems at the Hicks' home, even before the couple moved in, records show.
In April 2021, Austin Lanz was caught on video breaking into the neighbor's home after repeatedly leaving pornographic material in the mailbox, according to police records. Officers then arrested Austin Lanz who was also accused of assaulting two Cobb County Police Officers while in jail, records show. A month later, he was granted bond and ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.
In August 2021, Austin Lanz would take a bus to Washington D.C. and kill a Pentagon officer before killing himself, investigators said.
A month later in Acworth, Amber and Justin Hicks closed on the home on Verbena Drive that Austin Lanz was accused of breaking into.
11Alive sifted through police records and there doesn’t appear to be any interaction between the Hicks and Lanz family until last week when police said Austin’s 22-year-old brother Matthew broke into the home and killed the couple.
On November 18, The Hicks were killed in their home.
On Nov. 19, police said Matthew Lanz broke into a couple of homes in Sandy Springs. That's when the officer was stabbed.
The Sandy Springs officer allegedly confronted him inside one of the homes. At last check, the officer is recovering and was released from the hospital, according to the department. Lanz was taken to the Fulton County Jail.
Police have not released a motive in the Hicks' deaths and have not said if Lanz even knew the family.