Millsap says one Gray Road victim was armed at time of shooting

Sheriff encourages firearm licenses following murder-suicide


Bartow County Sheriff Clark Millsap revealed some new information on the murder-suicide that transpired off Gray Road on June 1 at a Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce event in Adairsville Thursday morning. 

“We had a real tragedy this weekend, I’ve still yet to figure out,” he said. “He showed her, alright — he blew her away and then he blew himself away.”

Officials announced Monday that Jose Flores-Neve, 37, of Kennesaw, shot and killed Nayeli Fernandez-Diaz, 34, and Matthew McArthur, 42, on a dead-end street close to Old Rudy York Road before tuning the gun on himself last weekend.

Flores-Neve and the female victim were technically married, although they had been separated for close to a year. While Millsap said investigators hadn’t determined a clear motive for the double murder yet, he did indicate that McArthur, who was from White, Georgia, was armed at the time of the shooting.

“Folks, this weekend that guy showed up in Bartow County with an AR-15 and a 9-millimeter,” Millsap said. “The male victim had a .40-caliber — he didn’t do too good in returning fire, unfortunately.”

With the local sheriff’s office battling a pronounced manpower shortage — as of Thursday morning, the Bartow County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) had at least 19 open positions — Millsap said such incidents certainly reinforce his staunch Second Amendment convictions. 

In fact, he requested that everyone in attendance at the NorthPointe Church function not only obtain a firearm, but a Georgia Weapons Carry License to accompany it. 

“If you don’t have one, please go get one,” he said. “Please, folks, we have to arm ourselves.”

He said that the BCSO offers free shooting classes, with the next firing range date scheduled for June 22.

“If you don’t have a gun, you can come and shoot ours,” he said. “If you’ve got one, come and bring you some ammunition. I promise you when you get through with our six-hour course, you’ll be able to shoot it upside down and behind your back like in the movies.”

During the summer, he said larceny cases tend to spike throughout the county. He advised residents to always lock their cars and refrain from keeping anything valuable inside their vehicles.

“We’ve got kids walking neighborhoods — now that school’s out, especially — at one and two o’clock in the morning,” he said. “They’ll just walk down a neighborhood, they’re pulling door handles, and if it’s open, they get in. If they look in there and they see something that they might want, they’ll bust your window out.”

Bartow County Chief Magistrate Judge Brandon Bryson, also in attendance at Thursday morning’s event, said crimes are certainly on the uptick in the community.

“This year so far, my office has signed 4,000 warrants,” he said. “That’s too much, and it’s not all here in Bartow County. The sheriff’s offices of the surrounding jurisdictions do a great job catching people passing through.”

As did Millsap, he asked residents to remain vigilant and take the proper — if not sensible — safeguards when out and about in public.

“Be aware of your surroundings and just understand that not everybody is looking out for your best interests,” he said. “And if you see an officer, thank them for what they do, because they put themselves on the line all the time.”

At this point, Bryson said his office has already surpassed the 2,500 mark for civil cases filed. He said much-needed hardware and software investments over the summer should lessen the paperwork burden for employees and applicants alike.

“With this caseload, we’re working everyday to make it more people-friendly and have a more efficient process,” he said. “We are upgrading all our technology right now. You’ll be able to file more cases online from your house … by the end of this summer, you should be able to file garnishments online, personal property foreclosures and a host of other types of cases.”