A Georgia university professor is charged with killing a young woman due to start her freshman year at the same school this fall.
Richard Sigman, 47, was booked into the Carroll County Jail on multiple charges related to the shooting death of Anna Jones, 18, according to NBC Atlanta affiliate WXIA. Police say Sigman fired a gun into a parked car early Saturday morning, fatally striking Jones after he was asked to leave a Carrollton pizzeria.
Sgt. Meredith Hoyle Browning for the Carrolton Police Department told Oxygen.com Jones sustained two gunshot wounds before friends rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The University of West Georgia released a statement to Oxygen.com, confirming Sigman was a professor at the university up until his Saturday morning arrest.
“The University of West Georgia has learned of the loss of one of its students, Anna Jones, who passed away following an off-campus incident earlier today,” the statement read. “UWG has terminated the employment of Richard Sigman and continues to work with the city of Carrollton Police Department, which leads this ongoing investigation.”
Anna Jones was expected to begin her freshman year this fall semester, according to WXIA. She was not enrolled in any of Sigman’s classes.
Sigman’s information was no longer available on the University of West Georgia website.
According to preliminary findings by the Carrollton Police Department, Sigman allegedly engaged in a verbal altercation with a man - whose name police did not disclose - shortly before 12:30 a.m. on Saturday at Leopoldo’s Pizzeria in Carrollton - about 50 miles east of Atlanta.
The unnamed male reportedly notified security after Sigman allegedly threatened to shoot him,
“Security approached Sigman, saw he had a weapon, and told him to leave,” police stated.
Sigman left and headed toward the courthouse parking deck off Adamson Square, a downtown spot popular among locals for its restaurants and shops. There, Sigman allegedly began firing into a parked car, fatally striking Jones.
Sgt. Browning told Oxygen.com there was no apparent connection between Jones and the man who’d argued with Sigman, to their knowledge, nor had the two interacted previously in the evening.
“We have no clue right now why he fired into the vehicle,” said Browning.
Browning said Jones was in the passenger’s seat, with another friend in the driver’s seat and a third friend in the backseat. It was not clear who owned the vehicle.
Police alleged to Oxygen.com that Sigman was intoxicated at the time of the shooting.
“We, at Carrollton Police Department, like the Carrollton community, are outraged and heartbroken about the death of Anna Jones,” Browning stated. “By all accounts, she had a bright future ahead of her that abruptly and tragically ended. We are dedicated to bringing her family the justice they deserve.”
Jones had recently graduated from Mount Zion High School in Carrollton with the class of 2022, according to a tribute posted to their Facebook page.
“While the arrest of Richard Sigman was swift, our job is nowhere near finished,” Browning continued. “It is our duty to put the pieces together as best we can, to dot our ‘i’s’ and cross out ’t’s’ [and] to leave no stone unturned so that we can present the best information possible to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
“This community has been rocked, but we will not let one man’s actions shake our town’s spirit,” Browning concluded. “We are grateful for the community’s support of Anna’s family, her friends’ families, and this department.”
Loved ones created a GoFundMe page for Jones’s funeral expenses on behalf of her mother, calling the crime “devastating” and “senseless.”
The University of West Georgia is offering counseling and support services to its students and faculty in the wake of the shooting, according to their statement.
“On behalf of this university, we wish to convey our deepest condolences to Anna’s family and many friends,” said the university’s president, Dr. Brendan Kelly. “We know this news is difficult to process and affects many members of our university community. We ask that you keep Anna’s family, friends, and all who have been touched by this tragedy in your thoughts during this tremendously difficult time.”
Sigman is charged with one count of murder, three counts of aggravated assault, and three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, jail records show. He is expected to make his first court appearance Monday.