FORSYTH, Ga. — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has released surveillance footage of a suspicious High Falls bar fire that happened hours before its co-owner killed himself.
Investigators say the Oct. 1 fire that destroyed the Backwoods Bar and Grill on High Falls Road was arson.
Anna Lewis with the sheriff's office said investigators studied the surveillance video from another business. It shows the bar's co-owner, Gary Lawrence, taking out the trash, leaving the building with smoke pouring out, and driving away.
The surveillance video portrays events that happened over a 2-hour span of time and it has been edited down.
Lawrence left the bar, then he switched cars at his sister's house, according to the sheriff's office. That's when he drove to his ex-wife's house in Macon, where he shot and killed himself about two hours later.
According to Monroe County Emergency Services, no one was injured in the fire but the heavy smoke and flames took crews hours to put out.
Lewis says they sheriff's office may never know Lawrence's motive for setting the fire because he is dead.
STAY UPDATED | Click here to subscribe to our Midday Minute newsletter and receive the latest headlines and information in your inbox every day.
Have a news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our Facebook page.