NASCAR community comments following the tragic weekend shooting
Note: This post has been updated with new information from the police report.
Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley has been killed in a shooting. The shooting occurred Saturday in the Athens Five Points area.
Sonny Wilson, the Athens-Clarke County coroner confirmed to the Athens Banner-Herald.
The shooting happened on the 200 block of Morton Avenue in Athens, Georgia. ACCPD spokesperson Lt. Shaun Barnett said it took place just before 9:00pm.
Barnett confirmed that both Townley and a 30-year-old female victim were injured in the shooting. Townley died at the hospital while the unnamed female is in “serious” condition.
The suspect is a 32-year-old. As of Sunday, Police has spoken to the suspect but there’s no charges against him. Townley knew the suspect.
John Wes Townly reportedly entered the house, armed with an axe, per sources. He was killed and the woman involved was struck in the crossfire.
Barnett added that he couldn’t confirm details. He stated the case was possibly self-defense.
The case is suspected domestic violence. However, the investigation is ongoing.
John Wes Townley was 31.
John Wes Townley
John Wes Townley spent 8 years in the NASCAR Xfinity Series between 2008-2016. He had 76 starts in the series and led 16 laps.
During the same period, he also competed in the NASCAR Truck Series. 110 starts netted 24 top-10 runs. He also collected a race win in 2015.
In 2012, he made one attempt at a NASCAR Cup Series race. However, he was unable to make the show.
John Wes Townly’s father Tony Townley is the co-founder of the national restaurant chain Zaxby’s.
NASCAR community comments
Current NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace tweeted, “Damn. Rest Easy JWT. Heartbreaking.”
NASCAR driver Tommy Joe Martins tweeted, “Horrible. RIP.”
Marcus Lemonis tweeted, “Just terrible.”
Todd Bodine tweeted, “Absolutely devastating news about John Wes Townley. Praying for his family and Friends.”
New information has been released on the case.
Townley visited the residence of his ex-wife, Laura Townley. The house was also occupied by Zachary Anderson.
Per the police report, Townley “attacked Mr. Anderson and Ms. Townley with a hatchet.”
In what appears to be defense, “Mr. Anderson fired several shots from his gun.”
John Wes Townley and his ex-wife Laura were both hit by gunshots. Townley died from injuries at the hospital. Laura is expected to survive.
John Wes Townley and Laura Townley recently finalized a divorce. The petition was filed in February.
Previously, in 2019, John Wes Townley was charged with three misdemeanor counts. A charge of family violence battery came after throwing his wife to the floor. Townley pleased guilty and served 12 month probation.