MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — A domestic argument ended in tragedy Wednesday night for a local man and woman who lived in the Harrisburg neighborhood of Milledgeville.
The argument turned deadly as the man picked up a loaded shotgun and shot his wife to death inside their doublewide mobile home at 113 Baywood Drive. The man then turned the gun on himself and fired a fatal shot into his body.
Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee said the shooting had been ruled a murder-suicide.
Coroner John Gonzales identified the victims as Olla Steele, 65, and her husband, Will Steel Sr., 61.
An autopsy is expected to be performed Friday at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory in Macon to determine the exact cause of Olla Steele’s death, Gonzales said. The coroner said it was believed that she was shot once in the chest.
An autopsy was not ordered in the case of her husband, whom authorities said was the shooter.
Firefighters/first responders with Baldwin County Fire Rescue and personnel rendered medical care to Will Steele Sr. at the scene. He later was taken by ambulance to the emergency room of Oconee Regional Medical Center in Milledgeville and then transferred to Navicent Health in Macon. He died at 1:19 a.m. Thursday, Gonzales said.
Olla Steele, a retiree from Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:05 p.m.
“She was a really nice lady,” said Gonzales, noting that he used to work with her several years ago at CSH.
The sheriff said it was a sad time for him, too, because he knew the victims.
“We received a call to an active shooter at 113 Baywood Drive,” Massee said. “Our entire second shift responded to the scene after 10 p.m. and all of our detectives went there, too.”
The sheriff said initially they thought they were responding to an active shooter situation, and that at least one person had been shot.
Massee said Will Steele Sr. used a pump shotgun to kill his wife and himself.
“When our uniformed people got there, they determined that what we had truly was a domestic incident that evolved into a murder-suicide,” Massee told The Union-Recorder on Thursday.
Massee said he had known the couple for a long time.
“My relationship with them was always a good one,” Massee said. “It’s one of those terrible situations where it’s a loss for everyone in the neighborhood and the community.”
Massee said a family member tried to talk with Will Steele Sr. before the shooting erupted, but that Steele told the person to leave the house right away.
The shootings occurred a short time later.
“From our view in having worked the investigation, it was a domestic disturbance gone horribly bad,” said Sheriff’s Detective Capt. Brad King, who went to the hospital after the shooter was taken there for medical treatment. “As to what the disturbance was, at this point, we don’t know.”
The investigation into the cause of the shooting remains ongoing.
“As far as I know, we had a witness at the scene that confirmed that there was certainly a domestic dispute and confirmed that before the shooting, there was already a firearm introduced here,” King said.
A third party caller also alerted authorities to gunshots being heard, he added.