A man suspected of killing five people in two shootings in the US state of Georgia has been found dead, police have said. Wayne Anthony Hawes is believed to have shot himself on Friday, 22 April, after unsuccessfully trying to set his house on fire.

Hawes, of Appling (about 130 miles east of the capital, Atlanta), is alleged to have gunned down three adults at one house before moving on to another location a mile away where he killed a further two people. According to Captain Andy Shedd of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, the shootings took place 35 minutes apart.

Police said the incident took place following a domestic dispute. According to WRDW, Hawes snapped after learning that his wife was divorcing him.

Victims named

The victims from the Johnson Drive area have been identified as Roosevelt Burns, 75, Rheba Mae Dent, 85 and Kelia Clark, 31. The Washington Road victims were identified as Lizzy Williams, 59 and her husband Shelley Williams, 63. Both were killed with a single gunshot wound to the neck on their sofa. Hawes' wife was taken into protective custody last night, the New York Times reported.

Relatives said Dent was Hawes' mother-in-law. Shedd said that Burns and Dent was pronounced dead at the scene while Clark, who was found alive, died at the hospital.

Authorities said the two incidents are related. Shedd said that Hawes' body was discovered in his garage with a single gunshot wound to the head after failing to set his home ablaze.

A resident – speaking on condition of anonymity – described the moment that shots were fired. "My mother was like: 'That's a whole bunch of shooting'," she said. Curious to see what had happened, they looked outside to see a man leaving the victim's residence in a car. "After we saw him go off, we were like: 'That's not right'," she added.

Second mass shooting

This is the second mass shooting in the US within 24 hours. On 22 April, eight people were also shot and killed in Ohio.

According to the Gun Violence Archive there have been 78 mass shootings – public shootings which have led to at least 4 people being killed or injured – were recorded since 1 January 2016. Fatalities were recorded at 50 of those shootings .