FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. - It is the second time in one week that a man has tried to kill his family and then himself. But this time law enforcement officers were able to stop it when they rescued two children, a one year old girl and her 6 year old brother.
Ellis Weatherspoon, 47, of McCaysville is charged with stabbing his girlfriend multiple times in the neck and trying to kill their two children. "I am very convinced that his intentions were to kill himself and to kill the children," said Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby.
It started when about 9:36PM Tuesday night when Fannin County received a 911 call regarding a stabbing at 516 E. Tennessee Street in McCaysville. The Sheriff said Jennifer Palmer, 29, who lived in the home was found stabbed multiple times.
Palmer told deputies that her boyfriend, Ellis Weatherspoon, was the person who stabbed her. She told them he drove off from the home with their two children.
More than 100 law enforcement officers from the Fannin County Sheriff Office, GBI, Appalachian District Attorney's Office, Gilmer County and US Forest Service conducted an all night search for Weatherspoon and the two children.
About 12 hours later they tracked Weatherspoon and the two children to a vacant camper trailer on Highway 5 in McCaysville. Deputy Chief Anthony Walden approached the trailer and tried to communicate with Weatherspoon but he would reply.
"I told him to come to the front of the trailer," Walden said. "I started giving him stronger commands to exit the trailer, exit the camper and come out."
Walden said another deputy broke out a back window and was overwhelmed with the smell of propane gas. The Sheriff said Weatherspoon turned the gas on inside the trailer before they arrived. "He was hoping that the gas fumes would just overcome them and they would basically got to sleep and this would all be over,"
Walden said he grabbed a drive shaft that was sitting on the ground next to the trailer and smashed the front door. "As I started in the door flames leapt out and smoke billowed out from the trailer," he said. Weatherspoon tried to ignite the fumes by striking a match. "He lit a paper towel and started the flames."
"I am very convinced that his intentions were to kill himself and to kill the children," Sheriff Kirby said.
Deputy Chief Walden said he quickly grabbed the one year old girl and handed her to another deputy while another deputy rescued the 6 year old boy and Weatherspoon. "Everybody there knew something had to be done and had to be done in a hurry," he said. "That's why there was such a good feeling afterward when they were all out."
Walden said it makes all the routine calls worth it. "You know, you made a difference and that's why anybody's in law enforcement, they want to make a difference," he said.
"I'm proud of not only my office and the men and women that were there, but I'm very proud and thankful for everyone that reached out to us to assist us," Sheriff Kirby said.
Weatherspoon's girlfriend Jennifer Palmer is in stable condition after being stabbed multiple times. The six year old boy's hair was singed, according to Walden but both children are otherwise okay.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)