Friend recalls victim in triple murder-suicide as loving, caring father and grandfather

Friend recalls victim in triple murder-suicide as loving, caring father and grandfather

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Travis James Hiatt was an active member of a church in Arlington with Traci Bunkley. The two served together in the same program for the last five years.

She said "Jimmy" Hiatt was a caring and dedicated father and grandfather who would do anything for his children.

Bunkley said he was especially caring to his 22-year-old daughter Megan, who Bunkley says was having trouble with her boyfriend "Rush" Wilson.

"She had moved out a time or two and found herself needing to be out again," Bunkley said. "A relative called and said that she was moving out, and he came home from work before they expected him," Bunkley said.

Police say Wilson shot Megan Hiatt, their two twin daughters and Megan's father, before shooting himself. Megan was the only survivor. Bunkley says Megan was shot multiple times.
"She did survive the three surgeries last night. She lost an eye, having been shot in the head," Bunkley said. "She has a long recovery, but her family is staying right by her."

Bunkley says Jimmy Hiatt was so happy to have recently become a grandfather to twins Reese and Rose, who were only 5 months old.

"He was so proud. I think the best picture of him probably that I have ever seen -- he's holding both of those girls right in his lap. He's smiling," Bunkley said.

Bunkley says she can't make sense of what happened, but knows that her friend died doing what he could to help his girls.

"I don't know exactly what went on other than that, but I am sure he was protecting those babies, at least he got to take them home," Bunkley said.

She said she worries about how Megan is dealing with the heartache.

"Just continuing to pray that Megan pulls through this and has the strength to face what has happened in this tragedy," Bunkley said.

Bunkley says the 22-year-old mother didn't have insurance, and is now facing thousands of dollars in medical bills.  A GoFundMe page was set up in order to help Megan with her medical costs. As of Saturday at 11 p.m. $2,755 of the $15,000 goal had been raised.