A man arrested Sunday after a standoff with the Atlanta police SWAT team is suspected of killing two people in Atlanta and a third person in East Point, police said.
The Fulton County Medical Examiner's office identified Loveitt Wallace, 36, as the woman found inside a room at the Wellesley Inn hotel on Virginia Avenue. East Point police discovered her body after responding to a "welfare check" on Wallace at a family member's request. Joseph Rennato Smith is suspected of killing Wallace, who police believe was his mistress.
Channel 2 Action News received the report of a woman found in a hotel, just minutes before learning about a standoff under way at the Cascades by Centex subdivision off Benjamin E. Mays Drive in southwest Atlanta.
Authorities later confirmed Smith, 32, was connected to the standoff , naming him a suspect in the killing of his wife and stepdaughter, who were found dead inside a home in the subdivision.
Thaddeus Griffin identified the victims in the home as his daughter Shatikey Griffin, 34, and his granddaughter, Demiya Griffin, a 12-year-old student at Kipp Ways Academy, he said.
Channel 2 spoke to neighbors at the scene, including Griffin's cousin Bianca Robertson, who tried to stay optimistic about the incident that ended in tragedy.
"I'm praying that she's still alive," Robertson said after learning her cousin was being held hostage.
Robertson said her cousin, affectionately called "Tiki", married Smith just a few weeks ago.
"Probably hadn't even been a month, she went out of town and came back married to him. So we don't even know him," Robertson said.
Shortly after Roberson and other family members arrived, SWAT officers arrived in full gear, taking all precautions while trying to deal with Smith.
Other officers, meanwhile, ordered nearby residents to evacuate, as many of them were trying to figure out what was going on.
"We were just told we can't enter, we can't go home," Ruchelle Thomas said.
"To end like this -- a very bad tragedy," added another relative Karen Wright.
Police have not yet indicated a motive in the fatal cases.
Smith remains in jail custody.