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Man charged in murders after arrested for stabbing officer

November 20, 2021 GMT

ACWORTH, Ga, (AP) — Investigators say they believe a man charged with stabbing a suburban Atlanta police officer also shot and killed a firefighter and his wife in a neighboring county.

Matthew Lanz, 22, was arrested Friday in the stabbing of a Sandy Springs police officer. Police tell local news outlets that Lanz stabbed an officer responding to reports of burglaries before another officer shot Lanz.

Cobb County police said Friday they issued murder warrants for Lanz in the deaths of Cobb firefighter Timothy Justin Hicks and his wife, Amber Hicks, both 31. They were found dead from gunshot wounds in Acworth on Thursday morning. The couple’s toddler was home but was not hurt.

Fulton County investigators say Lanz’s Acworth home shares a backyard fence with the Hicks home.

On Friday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Lanz entered a Sandy Springs home and a resident called police to report an intruder. Police were already in the area after a report of a suspicious person, and multiple homeowners reported burglaries.

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Officers arrived and confronted Lanz, who was armed with a knife, the GBI reports. Investigators say Lanz attacked one of the officers stabbing him repeatedly in the back and neck. Officers shot at Lanz and struck him twice.

Lanz was treated at a hospital before being taken to the Fulton County jail. He remained jailed Saturday, and it’s unclear if he has a lawyer to speak for him.

He’s charged with 35 felony counts in Fulton, including 10 counts of attempted murder on a police officer, 10 counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, 10 counts of felony obstruction, two counts of first-degree burglary and one count each of first-degree home invasion, possession of a knife during a felony and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

Cobb County charges include two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, home invasion and possession of a firearm during a felony.

Police said the Sandy Springs officer who was stabbed has been released from a hospital and is “doing extremely well.”