Varnell Community In Shock After Melissa Ball and Son Grayden Gunned Down By Christopher Whitmore in Double Murder-Suicide

VARNELL, GA,(WDEF)-Flowers and Teddy Bears surround pump number 12 at the Shell gas station in Varnell.

Where just before 7pm Thursday night Christopher Eric Whitmore shot his 8 year old son and former partner Melissa Ball.

Susan Jordan, Friend and Former Colleague of Melissa Ball,"No matter what was going on in her life, she was always smiling, always smiling".

Jordan a fellow  nurse had worked with Ball and was concerned that she may have been in an abusive relationship with  Whitmore.

"Get help before its too late, go to a shelter do whatever you have to do but get help before it’s too late".

Melissa’s sister Mandi Ball turned to social media Friday morning asking women to take "All abusive threats seriously" and called  Whitmore a "monster".

Mental health specialists hope this tragedy can shed led on an issue that affects hundreds of women.

Robin Cleeland, Chair of Dalton State Social Work,"There are many fatalities in Georgia every year that are a result of intimate partner violence and in 2014 there were 117 fatalities in Georgia that were a result of domestic violence".

Investigators believe Whitmore shot his son Grayden first before then targeting Melissa and finally committing suicide.

Chris Sparks of McDonalds,"We are saddened by the events that took place near our Cleveland Highway restaurant in Varnell Georgia our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s families we are working the local authorities in this investigation".

Sheriff’s deputies were also stationed at the entrance to Beaverdale elementary Friday as counselors worked to calm students.

Principal Cheri Mahan described Grayden’s death as like "losing a family member".

Doctors and Nurses at Peds Care PC in Dalton described the last 24 hours as extremely difficult, saying they have to stay open to care for children and still mourn the loss of their colleague Melissa

Categories: Local News

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