AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Loved ones and friends of a family shattered by a double murder-suicide are reacting. The bodies of Tammy Briggs and April Williams were found around 10 p.m. Sunday at a home on Copse Drive in Augusta. Investigators were searching for husband and stepfather James Lamont Briggs in those killings. But his body was found Monday morning on Craig Sims Parkway.
It’s a little more than three miles from the home. The coroner says Briggs had shot himself.
We learned more about the family from Tammy’s son and neighbors. As the investigation unfolds, we hear each person was appreciated in their own way.
“He was a good guy,” said Carlos Mera. “He was a gentleman, you know.”
Kind words from the Briggs family landscaper.
“He actually introduced himself, very neighborly when we were scoping out the house.”
Neighbor Trevor Jones said, adding James Briggs was the first to greet him on the block when he moved in four years ago.
“He didn’t bring me the cake or the pie. But I was still greeted with the family’s warmness. I was able to go over there to meet his wife and the rest of his family,” Jones added.
Jones and many other neighbors in the Haynes Station community tell NewsChannel 6 they were shocked by the murders of Tammy Briggs and her daughter April Williams Sunday night. We spoke with Tammy Briggs’ son, who is also April Williams’ older brother. He is still grieving both lossesand choosing not to have his face shown on TV.
“I feel robbed,” the son and brother said. “You know? My mother and my sister, we were very tight. Very, Very tight. We traveled together. We did everything together.”
He tells us Tammy Briggs worked in the healthcare field since she was a teenager and was an avid traveler. The 44-year-old also earned her Master’s degree, graduating at the top of her class. And her daughter, wanted to follow in her footsteps.
“As a man, you have to grow up and you have to leave the nest. I feel robbed because I left the nest unprotected and they’re gone,” he said.
While neighbors say Tammy Briggs kept to herself, they spoke highly of James Briggs.
We learned, however, that Briggs had a criminal past. NewsChannel 6 found out he was a parolee out of Pennsylvania for forgery and theft charges. Neighbors who didn’t want to talk on camera, remembered Briggs as a family man, always spending time with his two small children and helping people in his community. He was a welder by trade who traveled for work and even offered free haircuts to the community.
Jones added, “There are people who would move in and move out. He would go over there and help them. If you just needed muscle, he would help them with that.”
James and Tammy Briggs had a young child together, and James Briggs also had a son from a previous relationship. Investigators won’t say where they are now, but we are told they are OK.
Photojournalist Gary Hipps