A prominent Hall County businessman and his wife were found dead Thursday at their South Hall County residence in what appeared to be a murder-suicide, according to Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
The call came in just before 10 a.m. from a neighbor who, at the request of a family member, went to check the home in the 4000 block of Wynwood Drive in the Poplar Springs Road area. The neighbor found the home open.
A 60-year-old man and 54-year-old woman were found dead from gunshot wounds, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. Hall County Coroner Marion Merck identified the deceased as Hank and Ginger Tanner.
Wilbanks said the investigation so far indicates the incident is “domestic related and appears to be a murder-suicide.” Wilbanks said this morning that the investigation indicates Hank Tanner was the shooter.
Hank Tanner was an active member of the Gainesville Rotary Club. President of the club from 2007-2008, he was inducted in 1997, and had most recently served as the club’s webmaster.
Frank Norton Jr., Rotary member and co-executive of a Gainesville insurance company, said Tanner had forged a business partnership with the agency just a few weeks ago.
“Hank joined us in our commercial group about two weeks ago. He was a very talented individual; he has tremendous contacts. We brought him on to help us round out our commercial offerings, because of his business experience,” he said. “I’ve known him as a Rotarian, and as president of Rotary Club. I think he had great talent for understanding the business side.”
Tanner was the president of National Business Brokers Inc. in Gainesville.
According to his biography on the company website, Tanner founded the company in 1994, and taught business broker classes and seminars for several organizations, including Gainesville College and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
Norton said when the economy took a downturn, Tanner worked part-time jobs to help keep him and his family insured.
“He had a circle of business contacts, on a really regional business level, and was a hard-working individual,” he said.
“He was very positive about his move to the Norton Agency,” he added.
“I spent about an hour and a half with him yesterday,” Norton said, noting nothing seemed out of the ordinary. “It was a shock. It’s very sad; the whole situation is very sad.”
Doug Langman, another fellow Rotarian, worked closely with Tanner as his sergeant at arms on the Rotary Board of Directors. He said that the Auburn, Ga., native was “completely devoted” to the club.
“In the time I’ve known Hank in Rotary, there is no one more devoted, more dedicated than he was,” he said.
In addition to his local duties as webmaster, Tanner served as secretary to the regional district that encompassed about 77 Rotary clubs, Langman said.
“Hank really exemplified the Rotary motto, which is ‘service above self,’” he said.
The crime scene punctuated an otherwise quiet afternoon in a suburban neighborhood.
A postal worker went about her route, lawn mowers hummed, but it was hard to not notice the deputies in patrol cars, investigators in plain clothes, and crime scene analysts in rubber gloves walking in and out of the white house.
“Never, never would I have imagined seeing crime tape in this neighborhood,” said neighborhood resident Allen Perry, his wife, Amy Perry, nodding in agreement.
“We actually moved here from Gwinnett County to get away from that sort of thing,” she said.
Amy Perry said she came upon the alarming scene when she went by their home from work.
“My first concern was that something was going on where they might be looking for someone still on the loose,” she said.
The case remains under investigation by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigations Division.