Former NASCAR Series competitor John Wes Townley has been killed in a shooting near Athens, Georgia, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.
Reports are currently slim, so we’ll let the Athens Banner-Herald do the talking:
Watkinsville native John Wes Townley was killed Saturday in a double shooting that occurred in the Athens Five Points area, Athens-Clarke County coroner Sonny Wilson confirmed to the Athens Banner-Herald.
Athens-Clarke County police responded to a shooting in the 200 block of Morton Avenue in the Five Points neighborhood just before 9 p.m. on Saturday, according to ACCPD spokesperson Lt. Shaun Barnett.
Townley, 31, and a 30-year-old female had been shot and were transported to a local hospital. Townley died of injuries at the hospital and the woman’s injuries are “serious,” according to Barnett.
Five Points is a retail area and neighborhood in Athens that’s located near the University of Georgia’s campus.
The suspect is an unnamed 32-year-old man from Dunwoody, Georgia. He is reportedly known to the victims, and police have been in contact with him. Lt. Barnett also noted that the situation currently appears to be related to domestic violence, but he didn’t offer any details about what that meant. The suspect was not deemed a threat to the community.
Townley competed in NASCAR for around a decade, running races in ARCA, Camping World Trucks, and the Xfinity Series. He won his first career Trucks race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2015 but recorded five top-give and 24 top-10 finishes during his time in the truck series. He retired in January of 2017. At the same time, Athenian Motorsports, the team owned by Townley’s father and Zaxby’s co-founder, was shuttered. Since then, Townley’s name has remained known to hardcore NASCAR fans.
Update: Monday, Oct. 4, 2021 at 11:20 a.m. ET:
The official Athens-Clarke County Police Department report has been released to the public, which features some disturbing new details. Townley and his wife, Laura, just had their divorce finalized this past week. Laura Townley was the unidentified woman who was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
John Wes Townley entered a house where his ex-wife and another man named Zachary Anderson were located and proceeded to attempt to attack Laura and Anderson with a hatchet. Anderson fired several shots from a gun. One of those stray bullets hit Laura Townley in the abdomen; she is expected to survive. John Wes Townley was killed.