published Monday, April 30th, 2012

Dalton man faces 2 murder counts after father and brother fatally shot, mother wounded

Police investigate the Dalton, Ga., home where Emilio Canales is believed to have shot three family members.
Staff photo by Steve Hardy
Police investigate the Dalton, Ga., home where Emilio Canales is believed to have shot three family members. Staff photo by Steve Hardy
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    Emilio Christopher Canales, 27, is charged with two counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in the shooting deaths of his father and brother and wounding of his mother in Dalton.

DALTON, Ga. — The house sits at the highest point on Dude Street, at the top of the hill on the looping road. Down one side of the hill, children play in shady yards as their mothers look on from porches; down the other, small boarded-up houses lie abandoned.

On Sunday morning, the house that sort of straddles the line of Dude Street was inhabited by the Canales family. By Sunday afternoon, the house was empty, and two members of the family are never coming back.

Police found two bodies Sunday morning at 1011 Dude St., a father and son. By Sunday afternoon, they’d arrested a younger son and charged him with the deaths as well as the shooting of his mother, who’s in critical condition at a Dalton hospital.

Emilio Christopher Canales, 27, was charged with two counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault, said Dalton Police Department spokesman Bruce Frazier. He was uninjured when police arrested him, Frazier said.

Officers believe an argument broke out among members of the Canales family around 9:30 a.m. Sunday. That’s when neighbors heard gunshots and called police. A few moments later, Deborah Canales, 50, fled the house with a gunshot wound in her back. She ran to a neighbor’s house, who took care of her until an ambulance carried her to Hamilton Medical Center, where Frazier said she was in the surgical intensive care unit Sunday evening.

On Sunday afternoon, no one answered the door at the house where Deborah Canales was sheltered, located several houses away. Other neighbors on Dude Street said they didn’t speak English or said they didn’t know what happened.

When Dalton police arrived at the Canales home, they found the body of Emilio Canales Sr., 50, and Emilio Francisco Canales, 31, and recovered a handgun believed to be involved with the incident, Frazier said. But the shooter was nowhere to be found.

Deborah Canales had told her neighbors that her son, Emilio Christopher Canales, had shot her, then got into his car and fled. Police put out an advisory for his silver Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and a sheriff’s deputy picked him up around 12:30 p.m. on Sparks Lane near South Dixie Highway, Frazier said.

The aggravated assault charge is his second. In August 2011, he was arrested for violating his parole on two previous charges in Whitfield County — a felony aggravated assault charge and a misdemeanor charge of giving false information, records show. On Sunday, Dalton authorities said they did not have information on what prompted the charges, when he received them or what he had done to violate his parole.

Though the suspect had prior run-ins with the law, Frazier said he doesn’t believe officers have been called to domestic issues at his home before. He added that the neighborhood is generally very quiet.

It is unclear what sparked the fatal shooting, and police are withholding details on the injuries until an autopsy can be performed.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has partnered with Dalton police on the case.

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