Rex Whitmire Harbour, a Georgia sniper who is accused of randomly shooting at motorists on a highway, idolized alleged Parkland, Florida mass killer Nikolas Cruz, authorities say.
Hall County Criminal Investigations Division personnel “positively identified the shooter as Rex Whitmire Harbour, 26, of Snellville. Harbour died as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the Hall County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. The shootings occurred along Georgia 365 outside Atlanta on Friday, May 4, 2018. No one was killed in the attack.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Sniper Shot Randomly at Motorists, Striking Seven Vehicles
Although no one was killed by the sniper, he struck seven vehicles with his bullets, sheriff’s officials said.
The incident unfolded on May 4, 2018, shortly before 11:50 a.m., according to the Hall County sheriff. Hall County 911/Central Communications “received a call from a motorist traveling on Ga. 365. The motorist said her husband had been shot as they were heading north near Tribble Gap Road in the northeast portion of the county,” the release states.
“Almost immediately, additional callers reported hearing gunshots and advised that other vehicles had been struck by bullets in the same vicinity. 911 callers also indicated a second adult male motorist had been hit by a bullet.”
Hall County Sheriff’s Deputies “responded, closed Ga. 365 and set up a perimeter,” the release said.
“At roughly noon, Deputies spotted a beige, 2003 Buick Century pulling out of the wood line near Tribble Gap Road. One deputy ran toward the car with a drawn weapon as he radioed for assistance and described the car to other law enforcement officers. The driver of the Buick looked at the deputy and drove off, heading south on Ga. 365,” the release stated.
Hall County Sheriff’s Investigators “determined that Harbour had fired at passing motorists from the woods north of Tribble Gap Road. A trail camera captured images of Harbour walking towards the area where he took a position to fire. Harbour was wearing two holsters under his shirt,” the release said.
“A search of the vehicle he’d been driving revealed three 9mm handguns, a .22 caliber rifle, one 12-gauge shotgun and a BB gun. It appears that a 9mm pistol was the only weapon used in the shooting. Also in the vehicle, investigators found approximately 3,000 rounds of .22 ammunition, 350 rounds of 9mm ammunition and 150 12-gauge shotgun shells.”
2. Harbour Called Nikolas Cruz a ‘Hero’ Who Gave Him ‘Courage & Confidence’
When it comes to a motive, authorities revealed that Harbour idolized the mass shooter, Nikolas Cruz, who is accused of murdering 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “In addition to the vehicle search warrant, Investigators obtained and served a search warrant at Harbour’s Snellville home,” the sheriff revealed.
“During the search, they discovered numerous handwritten documents indicating Harbour idealized the mass shooter in Parkland, Florida. He called Nikolas Cruz a, ‘hero,’ and said Cruz gave him, ‘courage and confidence.'”
“The documents are hate-filled,” Sheriff Couch said.
“What his motivation was other than just hate, we don’t know at this time,” Couch added, according to The Associated Press. “He had the weapons, the ammunition and obviously the will to inflict a lot of harm and a lot of hate.
The sheriff said that Harbour’s background did not contain red flags. Authorities couldn’t find any violence or “specific links to any type of activity such as witnessed Friday.” They couldn’t find “any history or signs of engaging in violent action.” The suspect’s Facebook page “revealed no affiliation or activity with any violent group(s).” There were no concerns raised in FBI checks.
3. After a Brief Chase, Harbour Shot Himself
Deputies and Georgia State Patrol Troopers attempted to stop the car carrying Rex Harbour, “but the driver sped off,” the sheriff’s press release states. “Following a brief chase, the driver shot himself in the head with a 9mm pistol. The car went out of control and came to a stop in the median. No law enforcement officers fired shots during the incident.”
The two gunshot victims “were transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, both in stable condition with non-life threatening injuries,” the release said. “One victim, a 54-year-old Gainesville man, suffered a gunshot wound to his hip. The second man, a 73-year-old Demorest resident, was shot in his lower left leg. A 49-year-old local woman suffered a slight injury from a shattered windshield.”
Harbour died on his way to the hospital, authorities said.
4. Harbour Worked in Landscaping
On his Facebook page, Harbour wrote that he was an assistant manager working in landscaping who had studied at the University of Georgia. He went to Loganville High School, was from Loganville, Georgia, and lived in Snellville, Georgia.
One relative wrote about his love of hiking on Facebook: “hey your the best best hiker i have seen. this guy walked up 8 inches of snow blood mtn. in january last year. a great hiker. the best,” the man wrote under a photo that Rex Harbour posted.
Harbour lived with his parents.
5. Harbour Grafted His Head Onto a Photo With Carrie Underwood on Facebook
Harbour’s Facebook page mostly contains photos of family and nothing overtly disturbing. However, he posted a joking photo that showed his photo grafted onto the body of a man with singer Carrie Underwood.
“Rex Harbour and Carrie Underwood Just Married!” he wrote in the comment thread. Friends responded with jokes, asking where the “couple” was going on their honeymoon, to which Harbour replied, “Yeah. We’re gonna have a blast in Bora Bora.”