HALL COUNTY, Ga. — The sniper-style shooter who hit two people on a Hall County highway Friday before taking his own life was allegedly influenced by the Parkland shooter, authorities said.
Sheriff Gerald Couch told Channel 2 Action News a hunter's trail camera captured images of Rex Harbour, 26, walking through the woods and taking up position along Highway 365 late Friday morning.
Couch said Harbour fired 17 times with a 9-millimeter handgun, hitting seven cars and injuring three people. A 72-year-old man was hit in the hip and a 54-year-old man was hit in the leg. Both are expected to be OK. Another person was injured due to a shattered window.
During a short police chase with troopers and deputies, Couch said Harbour shot himself and later died at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Investigators told Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach they went to Harbour's house in Snellville, where he lived with his parents, and found hand-written notes the sheriff calls "disturbing."
"He indicated that he idolized the mass shooter in the Parkland, Florida shooting and called Nicolas Cruz a hero and that Cruz gave him courage and confidence," Couch said.
But Couch said Harbour’s targets were random.
“This shooting didn’t specifically deal with one race or ethnicity,” Couch said. “Just hate-filled in targeting pretty much everybody.”
Channel 2's Wendy Halloran spoke to Harbour's neighbors on Saturday afternoon.
“I think it’s despicable that he would do that,” Priscilla Askew said, adding that she is beside herself. “I can’t believe this person lived next door to me.”
But Obasi Askew said he wasn't surprised.
“He was kind of off-putting and weird, I mean a lot of people are weird but this guy gave me the creeps,” he said.
Investigators found an arsenal in Harbour’s 2003 Buick Century: two more handguns, a bolt-action rifle and 12-gauge shotgun.
Along with hundreds of rounds for the shotgun and handguns, there were thousands of rounds of ammo for the rifle.
When investigators talked to his family, his mother called him mild-mannered and quiet.
Couch said they may never know his exact motivations or intentions, or his mental state, only that he could have caused much more bloodshed.
“In this business I’ve seen... that there’s just evil and that may be the answer we find here,” Couch said.
Priscilla Askew said is relieved no one was killed but can’t help think what if.
"What if he just decided to shoot everyone in the neighborhood and himself you know what I mean?"
© 2020 Cox Media Group