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Man arrested in Cobb couple’s slaying


Cobb police have identified Matthew Lanz as the suspect in the murder of an Acworth couple this week. Lanz, 22, of Acworth was charged with two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, home invasion, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. 

The bodies of Justin Hicks and his wife Amber, both 31, were found with gunshot wounds in their Acworth home by Cobb police. The 2-year-old toddler of the couple was found unharmed and is with family members. 

Neighbors told police that the couple had recently moved into the Chestnut Hill neighborhood off Bells Ferry Road. According to police, the shootings took place sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  Lanz lived directly around the corner from the home where the Hicks family lived. Police have not released a motive for their slayings and it is unclear at this time what relationship Lanz had with the Hicks family, if any.  

Hicks was a firefighter who worked with Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services for more than six years and was described by Chief Tim Prather as a highly motivated, energetic individual who had recently completed his paramedic training. “Justin has touched and impacted many lives, and he will be dearly missed,” Prather said. “Our hearts are broken as we mourn the loss of a member of our family and his lovely wife.”  

A day after the Cobb killings, Sandy Springs police responded to a reported burglary . When they arrived on the scene, one officer was attacked by Lanz. Another officer shot Lanz. Police said the officer who was stabbed was treated at a local hospital and released while Lanz was taken to a local hospital for his wound before being taken to jail.

Sandy Springs Police confirmed that Lanz is the brother of Austin William Lanz. Austin Lanz made national headlines after he fatally stabbed a police officer in August at a bus stop near the Pentagon. Officials said that after stabbing George Gonzalez, 27-year-old Austin used the officer’s service weapon to kill himself outside the headquarters of the U.S. military.

Lanz is being held in the Fulton County Jail on charges related to the stabbing incident of the Sandy Springs police officer. 


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