EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) – Neighbors near a home involved in what Columbia County Sheriff’s Office leaders call an ambush style attack claim the area is generally quiet and safe.

The shooting happened at 9:15 p.m. Tuesday on the 500 block of Fairfield Way, that’s in the Halifax North subdivision near Lakeside High School. Four adults and two children were at the home. Three were injured and one died by suicide.

“I was in the kitchen just trying to get something to eat.”

Al Krygier, who had been in the area for nearly 30 years, said he was at home when he heard shots across the street. Another neighbor said his wife heard the shots too, but he was at work.

Robert Rotger told us, “I’ve lived here about three years and it’s normally very quiet. Don’t normally communicate with the neighbors. Everybody kind of minds their own.”

Investigators said it all started when the resident of the home, 25-year-old DaVante Hill, told his neighbor, who happens to be a deputy, about a text message he received from a man he’s previously been in an altercation with in Aiken County. The text included a photo of his home. Another deputy was called over for trouble with a subject. And when that other deputy arrived, that’s when shots rang out.

“The deputy went to the back of the residence with the homeowner,” Major Sharif Chochol explained. “Apparently, the deceased was out there waiting in the bushes with a rifle. As soon as they went in the backyard and started checking the backyard, he opened fire on him. Struck the resident who lives there, two other people who were with him and he returned fire along with the deputy shooting one time.”

Despite returning gunfire along with the deputy, Hill was shot along with his brother, 30-year-old Tevin Hill and his brother’s girlfriend, 29-year-old Shardaye Pender. Everyone sustained non-life threatening injuries. The deputy was not injured. The shooter, 20-year-old Donquae Bates, was found later with a rifle.

“Other deputies responded and we started checking the area to try to find the shooter. The shooter was found in the bushes where he had shot himself,” Major Chochol said.

Major Chochol added Bates’ aunt is DaVante Hill’s finance and she was inside the home with two children unharmed. The nature of the initial altercation is still being investigated, although investigators know that Bates pulled a gun on Hill a couple of months ago in Aiken County.

“This was a personal issue between the parties involved. It was not a random style attack, but it was a personal issue and unfortunately our deputy almost got killed also in an ambush style attack,” he said.

Photojournalist: Gary Hipps