UGA Professor George Martin Zinkhan Sought in Triple Slaying


Updated April 27th :

Law enforcement officers across the country are still searching for George Zinkhan. As far as I’ve heard there are no real leads yet although there has been plenty of information brought to light over the last 48 hours.

The FBI has released information that George Zinkhan purchased a plane ticket to the Netherlands for May 2nd and his passport is missing from his personal belongings. One thing they haven’t released (or I just haven’t seen yet) is when the ticket was purchased. Just how long before the argument did he plan the murder? Obviously it wasn’t completely spur of the moment ‘wild west’ action, but premediation can be hours, days or even longer. According to one AP article I read, a family friend said that he had planned a trip to Amsterdam and had also bought a global phone as well.

The Feds have also said that Zinkhan’s family is cooperating with them as well. A statement was released to the AP offering condolences to the family and friends of the shooting victims.

Apparently Zinkhan was an avid hiker and outdoorsman and one theory being bandied about is that he may be hiding out in a rural area until the initial hunt and excitement has died down.

One other thing I forgot to mention when I posted the update earlier today is that this is his second marriage. George Zinkhan apparently had a wife and children that he abandoned in Texas prior to taking the position at UGA.

Original Entry:

Police in Athens, GA are looking for a University of Georgia professor who shot three people to death Saturday afternoon at a community theater. Although the shooting happened off-campus UGA issued a campus-wide alert stating that George Martin Zinkhan III (private Facebook) is a suspect in the shooting which let students and faculty know pretty quickly that something was amiss.

One of the people that was killed is the wife (some stories are reporting her as the ex-wife as well) of George Zinkhan, 47-year-old Marie E. Bruce. The other victims are two men, 40-year-old Tom Tanner and 63-year-old Ben Teague. They were all shot several times and there are two other victims as well that were injured and in the hospital as well. All five of the victims were involved in the Town & Gown Players, a local Athens theater group.

Apparently Zinkhan stopped at an annual picnic given by the Town & Gown Players, and left his two children in the car. He initially got into an argument with his wife and then opened fire on the group with at least two firearms. A short time later he dropped his two kids, eight and ten, off at his next-door neighbor’s telling them he had an emergency. Law enforcement is reporting that both children are safe. The neighbor described Zinkhan as being a very quiet person but very family oriented.

From all reports, George Zinkhan is a respected member of the faculty and even considered laid-back. Obviously there was something lurking in his mind though, for him to brutally kill his ex-wife and what seems to be a couple of innocent bystanders.

George Zinkhan was last seen (and authorities are looking for) driving a red 2005 Jeep Liberty with Georgia tag AIX 1376 although he also has two other vehicles registered in his name that police are looking for as well. The Jeep Liberty looks sort of like a little SUV. The map shows the general location of the shooting, and just how easy it was for him to leave.

View Larger Map

What prompts a man to snap like this, that he will take the lives of three people? I wonder what will become of Zinkhan…I believe that most likely they will find him dead with a bullet wound to the head, although I suppose that he could be heading toward Texas where it appears he has family. Police in that area have been alerted to be on the lookout for Zinkhan.

Some other Links (Thanks in part to Steve Huff)
A copy of George Zinkhan’s UGA website profile.
George Zinkhan’s Curriculum Vitae
George Zinkhan’s Facebook

Other Links to Stories About George Martin Zinkhan III for more information and background:
UGA Professor Being Sought In Triple Shooting (WSB)
3 Dead, 2 Hurt In Ga. Shooting; Professor Sought
University of Georgia Professor George M. Zinkhan III Suspected in Athens Triple Homicide
Georgia professor sought in shooting death of wife, two others
Professor on the loose, suspected in Saturday afternoon shooting on Prince Avenue, 3 dead.
UGA Professor George Zinkhan Sought in Shooting of Three Adults

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5 throughts on "UGA Professor George Martin Zinkhan Sought in Triple Slaying"

  1. I don’t know all the facts in this case, however, there are a lot of red flags. An estranged or ex wife, children, other men, quiet “family” type man, all signs that have been played out by so many lately. Thank God this man was kind enough not to kill his children, too!
    Situations like this have been happening at an alarming rate and I think a lot stems from either control or abuse issues within the family.
    The unfortunate tragedy in all of this is that we now have two young children without a mother, and most probably will not have a father, either, if he commits suicide or is convicted and sentenced to prison. We often forget about the children and the affect this has on their future.

  2. If the guy was a stoner, as is rumored, that might have been one red flag but some of the other stuff? Hell, I am a quiet family type guy too but it doesn’t mean I’m going out to blow anyone’s head off.
    Hopefully we will get a bit more insight in the next few days about this case because so far I just haven’t seen very red flags other than the fact that at keast one of his former students has commented that he seemed a bit ‘burned out’ on life and acted like a pot head.
    The children have got to be the hardest part about writing about stuff like this. Regardless of anything else that ever happens in their lives now this will overshadow everything.

  3. Actually, if he was a pothead that would be in his favor and would explain his “laid back” behavior! Not too many potheads commit murder, that I know about.
    Seriously, in researching and writing about a lot of domestic abuse cases the red flags I mentioned would apply, however, I don’t see where it says there was abuse involved in this case, so until all the facts come out, I’ll reserve my judgment of him and his motives.
    My biggest concern is for the children left behind. It happens way too often with no news about them and their welfare or future.
    Glad I found your blog, you have a lot of interesting things going on!

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