Suspect arrested in deadly shooting of 72-year-old man at Hardee’s

COMMERCE, Ga. — Police have arrested the suspect accused of shooting and killing a 72-year-old man outside a fast food restaurant on Sunday.

Calvin Varnum died at the hospital after someone shot him outside the Hardee’s at around 7:30 am.

Commerce police identified the suspect as 23-year-old Xavier Clark. Commerce Police Chief Ken Harmon confirmed to Channel 2′s Bryan Mims that officers arrested Clark late Sunday night.

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Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco spoke with the victim’s family Sunday for WSB Tonight at 11 p.m.

“Everybody in this community knew about him,” said Larosa Calloway, Varnum’s cousin.

Calloway said her cousin was 72 years old and he had special needs. She said he would often fill his time by waving and smiling at drivers passing the Hardee’s where he would get breakfast in the morning.

“He’d throw up his hand, waving to everybody,” said Calloway.

Harmon said that’s what Varnum was doing Sunday morning when someone drove up to him and shot him multiple times. Harmon called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to help investigate, and agents spent more than 10 hours gathering evidence around the restaurant.

“Know that we’re doing everything that we can with our partners at GBI to find the person who’s done this for multiple reasons. One, for public safety, so we can all rest easy, but also so we can seek justice for Calvin. He was an interesting guy. He was a good guy,” said Harmon.


Strangers packed the Hardee’s parking lot Sunday evening to build a memorial in honor of Varnum. They walked to the street and waved to commemorate the man that they say brought so much joy to so many.

“The man’s never hurt a living soul,” said Cameron Boswell.

Boswell started raising funds Sunday and pooled together more than $10,000 for a cash reward to the person who leads police to the suspected killer.

He also started a fund to help the family with funeral expenses.

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