CONYERS, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia man shot and killed two people inside a liquor store Sunday and then shot his parents before he was found dead after a shootout with a deputy, authorities said.
The dispute began Sunday afternoon at the store in Conyers, about 25 miles southeast of Atlanta, Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett said at a news conference.
Jeffrey Scott Pitts, 36, and a clerk may have had a run-in over an unpaid bill, Levett said. The clerk kept Pitts' identification and the man retrieved a gun from his car and demanded it back.
A few hours later, Pitts came back to the store with an assault rifle, shooting and killing the clerk and a customer, Levett said. Another customer inside the store returned fire as Pitts fled the scene.
"I consider him to be a hero because, although we did have a fatality at that location, he did save some other lives," Levett said.
Pitts then went home and shot his parents, authorities have said. When a deputy arrived, Pitts opened fire on him. A deputy returned fire and Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sherry Lang said Pitts was later found dead. An autopsy and ballistic testing will determine whether Pitts was killed by the deputy's gunfire, or if he took his own life, Lang said.
Pitts was wearing a ballistics vest and circular weights when he was found dead, Lang said. She later added that he was shooting an AR-15 rifle and a .45 caliber handgun.
Video of the incident is expected to be released this week after officers and deputies are interviewed, Lang said.
Officials have said Pitts' parents are in stable condition.