Alleged Affair Sparked Ga. Rampage

This 2006 photo provided by the University of Georgia shows George Zinkhan, a marketing professor in the Terry College of Business. Zinkhan is accused of killing three people and injuring two others outside a community theater near the university April 25, 2009. (AP Photo/University of Georgia, Robert Newcomb) AP Photo

People in Athens, Ga., the picturesque home of the University of Georgia, are still in disbelief that a longtime marketing professor and father of five would go on a weekend rampage, killing his estranged wife, the president of the local theatre club and two of her best friends.

The Town and Gown theater group was gathered here last Saturday for a reunion picnic, reports CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers. Dozens of people were milling about when George Zinkhan showed up. Witnesses say he got into a heated argument with his wife, then took the couple's kids back to his car. He returned a short time later carrying two handguns and opened fire.

"He shot three people," a man said on the 911 call. "Two gunshots to one man, um, it looks like one to the chest of another, and I think one to the chest."

Witnesses say 57-year-old Zinkhan first targeted Clemson University professor Tom Tanner, whom Zinkhan believed to be having an affair with his wife, Marie Bruce. He took aim at her next. Then he reportedly shot 63-year-old Ben Teague, the small theatre group's father figure, who some say died trying to save the others.

Zinkhan dropped off their two young children with neighbors and fled.

Theatre veteran Steve Wildey knew all three victims.

"I think he planned to do it," Wildey said. "I don't think he felt comfortable around the theatre group."

Some of his students here at the University of Georgia describe Zinkhan as a bit aloof, one colleague says he seemed more comfortable writing verse than conversing, including this ominous poem published on line:

We live in a dangerous age
Where everything is out in the open
Free on the Internet
The wildest ones among us
Run amuck.


Zinkhan was last seen driving a 2005 red Jeep Liberty with the Georgia license plate AIX1376.
  • Cynthia Bowers

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