Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Person of interest arrested in fatal Commerce shooting

A person of interest in a fatal Commerce shooting outside of a Hardee’s was arrested Monday evening. Jackson County police arrested 23-year-old Xavier Clark on a theft charge unrelated to the Sunday killing of 72-year-old Calvin Varnum. Clark now faces a murder charge.

According to surveillance footage, Varnum was standing outside of the Hardee’s on Homer Road on Sunday morning when a man in a blue Dodge Journey approached him. The two individuals exchanged words quickly and shots were fired from the vehicle. According to the Commerce Police press release, a bystander resuscitated Varnum at the scene. EMS then transported him to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he died of his injuries. Police found Clark to be the last known driver of the Dodge Journey.

Commerce community members remember Varnum as a kind and welcoming figure who would get breakfast at the local Hardee’s every morning. Around fifty people gathered around the Hardee’s for a candlelight vigil honoring Varnum on Sunday night, laying flowers and writing messages of support in chalk.

The local roller skating rink Skate-A-Rama offered a reward for information relating to the shooting and raised over $12,000 from community members towards the fund. They paused reward donations after the Commerce police named Clark a person of interest on Sunday night, but are still raising money towards Varnum’s funeral expenses.

Related Content