Warner Robins Mayor Donald Walker was pronounced dead at 1:49 p.m. today after he suffered a gunshot wound to the head, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said.
The wound appears to have been self-inflicted, Police Chief Brett Evans said.
Walker, 60, was rushed to The Medical Center of Central Georgia early this afternoon. Authorities were dispatched to his Warner Robins home this morning after a report of a gunshot there. City workers were asked to go to the Civic Center for more information.
Evans said that Walker and his wife, Patricia, were at home this morning at the time of the shooting. He would not confirm any other details of what happened.
Vickie Barnes, a family friend, was among those who drove to the Medical Center.
“The doctor just came in and said the wounds are horrific. .... He’s lost a lot of blood,” she said. “His family is just being real strong right now.”
Patricia Walker and Walker’s brother, Jay, were in a waiting room at the emergency center. At least two city council members arrived at the hospital too, as well as Walker’s pastor.
Barnes said the family needs prayers now. Family members, through a hospital spokeswoman, asked the public to respect their privacy.
Walker’s next-door neighbor, Clint Maddox, was home when police were on the scene.
“There were five or six police cars with all the lights going,” Maddox said. The yard was roped off when Maddox said he stepped outside his home this morning.
Maddox called Walker a “tender-hearted” man.
“He’s one of the best human beings that God ever made when it came to helping people,” Maddox said.
U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, a former Macon mayor, said he was shocked to hear of Walker’s death.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. His exceptional legacy as mayor will be difficult to match. His is truly a life worth celebrating.”
Walker is in the midst of a heated re-election campaign. He was first elected to the position in a 1994 special election.
In 1997, he won re-election with more than 85 percent of the vote. Then in 2001, state Rep. Pam Bohannon, with whom Walker already had a tense relationship, challenged him. Walker took 64 percent of the vote.
In 2005, no one ran against him.
Walker’s brother Jay is longtime Houston County Commissioner. Their father was the city’s mayor from 1968 to 1972. The city municipal complex, where Walker works in the corner office, is named after his father, Homer J. Walker.