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'It's always tragic': Laurens County deputies, GBI investigating apparent murder-suicide

The victim's 16-year-old son, who was also shot, pounded on a neighbor's door for help.

LAURENS COUNTY, Ga. — The Laurens County Sheriff's Office says a man killed his wife, shot his stepson, and set their house on fire before taking his own life.

One of the victims was a well-known paraprofessional at Hillcrest Elementary in Dublin.

It all started at 1120 John Lowery Road around 2:30 Monday morning. That's when Laurens County deputies responded to a 911 call from an elderly neighbor. Someone was pounding on their door asking for help.

"Instead of opening the door, they were being safe. They called the sheriff's office," said Laurens County Chief Deputy Stan Wright.

The person knocking was their 16-year-old neighbor. He had been shot multiple times, the sheriff's office said. 

"The juvenile was alert, he was conscious. He was talking to them, although he was shot multiple times," Wright said.

When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the boy's home was on fire.

"Flames and smoke coming from the house. Fire department was called. They responded quickly, started putting out the fire," Wright said.

When the smoke cleared, deputies found the boy's mother, 55-year-old Shiina Wiggins, dead inside the house. Her husband, Sunoco, wasn't there. Deputies suspected that he was the shooter.

"They were going through a divorce. I don't know at what step they were in the divorce, but there was a divorce," Wright said.

Treutlen County deputies found Sunoco Wiggins' car about 25 miles away in Soperton.

"They were staging up and they made an announcement on the PA. He stepped outside the front door, saw what was going on, and from what they told me, he stepped right back inside," Wright said.

That's when Wright says Sunoco Wiggins took his own life.

"It's always tragic," said Sheriff Larry Dean, "But this is just the world we live in today."

"Our heart goes out to the 16-year-old. He lost his mother last night, so he's got to deal with that, and her family also," Wright said.

Hillcrest Elementary, where Shiina Wiggins worked, has set up a grief station in its media center. Dublin City Schools is advising parents to talk with their kids and allow them to share their feelings about Wiggins' loss.

"Dealing with this tragedy is going to take time, and we will be here for every student, every family, and every staff member," the district wrote in a statement.

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