ST. GEORGE, Ga. – Georgia investigators said Wednesday it was a 39-year-old mother who fired the shots that killed her son, her mother and herself Tuesday in a home near St. Marys River.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Kimberly Butts killed Caleb Butts, 15, a student at Baker County High School, and Jan Kirkland, Butts' mother, who was 64. The autopsy showed Kirkland was shot once and Caleb was shot multiple times.
According to a Charlton County Sheriff's Office incident report, Butt's father, who lived on the same property, found three bodies and called 911.
Caller: "The gas stove is burning, I don't know why. I'm leaving everything the way it is. I just went around and touched everybody, and I got 3 dead people in there."
Operator: "OK so have they been shot or what?"
Caller: "No, I don't know ... They're dead, I don't see them move. I mean, I just walked over there to get an onion."
The deputy who responded to the house wrote in the incident report that there was a strong odor of gas coming from the stove in the kitchen and that two of the back burners had been ignited.
According to the report, Kirkland's body was found in the hall and the bodies of Caleb and Butts were in the master bedroom. The deputy said a semiautomatic handgun was lying on Butts' shoulder.
Butts' childhood friend said she was shocked and devastated when she heard of the tragedy.
The friend, Shawna Tomlinson, said Butts was a stay-at-home mom who was caring for Caleb, who had Down syndrome, and her mother, who had health problems, in the rural Charlton County home. Butts also has an older son, who is in away in the Navy.
Tomlinson said Butts appeared to have a great relationship with her mom and was passionate about her son. She frequently participated in fundraisers and events with him to raise awareness for children with special needs.
One man in the rural neighborhood said this is even more heartbreaking in such a peaceful, quiet area.
"I just feel so sorry for however it happened," the man said. "It's just weird. (I) don’t have a clue. Just saw it again, their names on TV this morning. …Condolences for the family."
Because this area is so close to the Georgia-Florida border, some students in the area go to school in Baker County. Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson told News4Jax that Caleb was very loved and they are heartbroken.