Stephanie Wideman knew her father-in-law and his common-law wife argued.
She couldn't have imagined what happened Thursday morning near Grovetown.
"Nobody expected this," she said. "We knew they fought, but nothing had every happened before."
Police say 46-year-old Clarence Shumate shot Linda Downard, 43, in the jaw before turning the gun on himself, said Columbia County Sheriff's Office Capt. Steve Morris. Investigators said they believe the shooting happened early Thursday morning, and wasn't reported to police until about 8:30 a.m., when Downard - shot at least once - called 911.
When deputies and medical personnel arrived at the couple's trailer on 5649 Goldsboro Rd., Downard was conscious, Capt. Morris said. She was taken by helicopter to Medical College of Georgia Hospital.
Emergency workers transport Linda Sue Downard from an ambulance to an Air Med helicopter to fly her to a
hospital to be treated for a gunshot to the head.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Shumate was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Our preliminary field investigation shows that Mr. Shumate died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound," said Deputy Coroner Vernon Collins. "He was shot once in the head with a 9 mm handgun. "From the way we diagrammed the scene, the position of the gun and his injuries leads us to a self-inflicted gunshot wound."
Authorities recovered the handgun at the scene.
"Two bullets were recovered from the wall and one had struck a lamp and ricocheted," Mr. Collins said.
Wideman said Shumate had three children and Downard had two. He was a mechanic and Downard was an Avon distributor. She said the couple had lived together for about seven years.
A neighbor, Sandra Stewart, said she was an acquaintance of Downard and bought Avon products from her.
"They were real quiet people. They kept to themselves," Stewart said. "This is not something you would expect in your neighborhood."
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