Newton County

Man who shot baby, mother to death had just been released from jail for threatening to kill her

NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. — The man deputies say shot and killed his 14-month-old daughter and the child’s mother had been arrested for threatening the mother two months before.

Officers say the shooter, Darian Bennett, turned his gun on himself, ending his life after an Amber Alert. Bennett had recently bonded out of the Newton County jail after making the threats.

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“It’s just a sad commentary of what’s going on in our world today,” said Pastor Phillip McPherson Armstrong of the Riverdale First United Methodist Church.

Armstrong was stunned when an officer told him Bennett shot and killed his 14-month-old daughter, then killed himself behind the church Sunday morning.

The night before that, officers say Bennett shot and killed the child’s mother, 38-year-old Keashawn Washington at her home on Chandler Field in Covington. He also shot Washington’s mother, Peggy Burns, who survived but was critically injured.


The pastor says too many people are taking innocent lives for no reason at all.

“It just leads me to want to pray more and to lead people to a closer walk with God,” he said.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones learned Bennett was arrested in April on charges of felony terroristic threats and harassing phone calls.

The warrants indicate that he came to Washington’s home and threatened to kill her last July. Bennett was released on a $7,500 bond and was ordered to have no contact with Washington. He ignored that order, came back to her home Saturday night and killed her as he promised.

An Amber Alert was issued when he took the child. Bennett then ended his child’s life before taking his own in Riverdale.

Armstrong says someone had to have noticed Bennett was stressed, and possibly depressed. He says it’s important not to ignore a person’s cry for help.

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“Talk to them. encourage them to come to someone and get professional help. Because we want to help you. We want you to live, we want you to survive,” he explained.

Burns’ son says she is recovering in the hospital.

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