Judge denies bond for man accused of killing beloved Hardee’s customer

COMMERCE, Ga. — A man is in jail charged with shooting and killing a 72-year-old man outside a Hardee’s restaurant in Commerce.

Xavier Clark is charged with murder in the death of Calvin Varnum.

Clark appeared briefly appeared before a judge inside the jail Monday to hear the charges against him.

The arrest comes as a memorial grows for Varnum at the Hardee’s where he was a familiar and beloved face.

Dianne McQuillen came to add her own touch to the memorial. She told Channel 2′s Bryan Mims remembers seeing Varnum nearly every day.

“He was always so sweet and nice. Told everybody hello. He talked about Jesus. He was a very godly man,” McQuillen said.

Commerce Police Chief Ken Harmon says he, too, would see the 72-year-old outside the Hardee’s -- always waving, always smiling.

He said that’s what Varnum was doing around 7:30 Sunday morning when someone drove up and shot him multiple times.

“It’s a horrible tragedy,” Harmon said.


Surveillance video shows someone in a dark blue Dodge Journey drive up, speak to Varnum, circle the lot, and return to gun him down.

Varnum, whose family said had special needs, died in the hospital.

“He clearly shot Mr. Varnum but the reasons why don’t really make a whole lot of sense,” Harmon said.

Xavier Clark, 23, was arrested late Sunday night during a traffic stop. He’s charged with murder, malice murder, aggravated assault, and two counts of cruelty to children.

Harmon said two children in the Hardee’s witnessed the shooting.

“It’s hard to understand a motive. It’s not something as clear as a fight or argument between them,” Harmon said.

The chief told Mims that the shooting was not gang-related.

Records show Clark was on probation for an aggravated assault charge in Jackson County.

Clark made no comment to the judge during his hearing Monday, only that he said he understood the charges against him. He’s currently being held in jail without bond.


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