Georgia sniper idolized Parkland shooter, sheriff says

The sniper-style gunman who shot two people on a Georgia highway before taking his own life was allegedly influenced by the Parkland shooter, authorities said.

Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a news conference Saturday morning that Rex Whitmire Harbour, 26, of Snellville, "idolized" Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 people at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14. Investigators found handwritten documents in Harbour's home that allegedly called Cruz a "hero" who gave him "courage and confidence."

On Friday, Harbour shot a 9mm pistol at multiple cars, hitting at least seven, Couch said. Two people were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds and another was injured by broken glass from the gunfire. None of the injuries was life-threatening.

Couch said investigators found a trail camera that showed the shooter taking a position in the woods on the southbound side of the highway before fleeing the scene when Hall County deputies arrived.

After a short chase, Harbour allegedly shot himself and died due to his injuries while en route to a hospital.

Investigators found three 9mm pistols, a 12-gauge shotgun, a BB gun and more than 3,400 rounds of ammunition in Harbour’s vehicle. At least 17 shell casings were found near the site of the shooting. None of the weapons appear to have been stolen, Couch said.

“What his motivation was other than just hate, we don’t know at this time,” Couch said. “He had the weapons, the ammunition and obviously the will to inflict a lot of harm and a lot of hate.”

Couch said intelligence checks by the GBI and FBI showed Harbour had no criminal or violent history.

Harbour attended Loganville High School, the University of Georgia for a period of time and worked in the landscaping business, according to his public Facebook page.

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