A 24-year-old graduate of Elon University and his younger sister were shot and killed in Atlanta on Wednesday, and their mother, who then killed herself, is suspected in their deaths, police say.
Chris Edwards, who graduated from Elon in North Carolina in 2018, and his 20-year-old sister, Erin, were found dead around 6 p.m., the Cobb County Police Department said. Their mother, Marsha Edwards, 58, was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police.
Police had responded to requests for a safety check at Marsha Edward’s upscale townhouse that evening, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, but police have not said when the shootings occurred or what might have ben the motive.
The Atlanta community, where the Edwards family is well-known, is trying to make sense of the tragedy.
The father, Christopher Edwards, is an orthopedic surgeon, chairman of the Atlanta Housing Authority board and a member of the Morehouse School of Medicine Board of Trustees. Marsha Edwards founded local medical equipment supply company MME Enterprises LLC. The parents are divorced, according to the AJC.
Both children were aspiring journalists, and Chris Edwards was working as a digital content manager for the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, according to his LinkedIn page.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and her husband shared in the loss and extended their condolences.
“Derek and I join the greater Atlanta community in mourning the loss of three members of the beloved Edwards family,” Bottoms said on Facebook. “Chris and Erin were beautiful, vibrant, and brilliant young adults, whom we had the pleasure of knowing their entire lives. They filled the lives of all who met them with joy, compassion, and kindness. May the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding, be with the Edwards family and all who had the honor to have known them.”
On social media, the family often appeared happy. Marsha Edwards posted photos of her and her daughter vacationing in Italy together days before the shooting.
She also posted on Instagram that she “could not ask for better children,” and that she had “the best summer” with them.
Chris Edwards, who earned a bachelor’s degree in media and arts at Elon, dreamed of inspiring African-Americans to pursue careers in broadcasting, according to his personal website.
At Elon, he co-hosted a weekly radio show and was a television anchor and producer for student-produced sports shows.
“Chris was the person who got me introduced to sports journalism on Elon’s campus, Elon senior Andrew Vendelis told the Elon News Network. Through ‘One on One Sports,’ Chris’ mentoring and leadership allowed for me to explore different ways of approaching sports journalism that I still use in my toolkit to this day.”
Vendelis said he and the sports show “can never repay Chris for how much he contributed to Elon and our organization, and we’ll miss him dearly.”
Chris Edwards recently attended the 2019 National Association of Black Journalists Annual Convention & Career Fair in Miami. His mother was at the conference with him.
“My ultimate goal is to work as a professional sports television or radio broadcaster,” Edwards said on his personal website. “More so, I strive to inspire future African-American broadcasters that you can reach your dreams, and make a difference if you put the work in and have a little faith along the way.”
The NABJ extended its “condolences, prayers and thoughts to the family, friends and colleagues of Marsha Edwards, Christopher Edwards II and Erin Edwards” in a statement Thursday. All three were NABJ members.
Sarah Glover, the group’s president, said in a tweet that she was “in shock that these two promising young adults and budding media professionals are no longer with us. Rest In Peace.”
Like her brother, Erin Edwards was working toward a journalism career, and she about to start her junior year at Boston University. She called herself a “passionate storyteller” on her LinkedIn page and had just finished an internship with NBC New York.
Boston University told Boston TV station WBZ that Erin Edwards was “an active student within the College of Communications and known to many on campus.”
The university, which resumes classes after Labor Day, notified students, faculty and the campus community of the tragedy Thursday saying Erin would be remembered for her energy and empathy.
Police are still investigating why Marsha may have killed her two children and then herself. Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to contact the Cobb County Police Department’s crimes against persons unit at 770-499-3945.