BUFORD — An early morning domestic dispute in Buford left two dead Wednesday, one by the gun of a police officer.
Gwinnett County police reported to a domestic dispute call on the 6400 block of Old Shadburn Ferry Road just about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. As the responding officer approached the home, a woman — later identified as 80-year-old Betty Jo Massengale — was walking down the driveway, police spokesman Sgt. B.E. Doan said.
“The female was then shot in the back by the male suspect,” Doan said. “The female fell to the ground and the officer fired at the suspect.”
The male, 73-year-old James Daniel Guler, reportedly fell to the ground and fired another shot before dying. Massengale also died at the scene, Doan said.
Guler and Massengale both lived at the home, police said, but were not married. There was not believed to be a history of domestic disturbances at the residence “within the past several years.”
The incident is being investigated by the Gwinnett County police deadly force investigation team and criminal investigation division, as well as the district attorney’s office. The officer involved, who has not been identified, has been placed on administrative leave per department policy.
After the first half of 2013 saw just eight homicides — including three officer-involved shootings — in Gwinnett, the tally has more than doubled. Since July 1, it’s believed 10 more homicides have been reported, included the two from Wednesday’s incident.
Even at 18, the homicide rate remains at a pace to decrease compared to 2012’s 41, which marked the county’s first spike in five years.