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Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley has been shot dead after attacking his ex-wife with an axe.
According to reports filed by Georgia police, Townley turned up to his former partner's house just a matter of days after their divorce papers had been filed.
Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley has died at the age of 31 after a shooting in Athens, Georgia. pic.twitter.com/MYvzXdRsqS- FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) October 3, 2021
It's understood Townley then began attacking his ex-wife as well as a 32-year-old man named Zachary Anderson with a hatchet.
Police then allege that Anderson, who was present in the house at the time of the attack, shot Townley "through the chest".
"At some point during the altercation, Anderson fired several shots with his firearm," Officer Lt. Shaun Barnett said.
Athens-Clarke County Police Department on the shooting of former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley: pic.twitter.com/W3j8Xw2iNY- Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) October 4, 2021
Barnett also confirmed that Townley's ex-wife was struck in the abdomen "accidentally", although it remains unknown whether those injuries were sustained from the gun or axe.
She was badly wounded and rushed to hospital but is expected to make a full recovery.
A formal investigation is still still underway with no arrests or charges handed out at this time.
I knew John Wes Townley since he entered the sport.- Chris Knight :ghost::jack_o_lantern: (@Knighter01) October 3, 2021
He always treated me well, said hi and we checked in with each other once in a while when he left the sport.
I am saddned to hear about what happened and my thoughts and prayers are with all the parties involved. #NASCAR
Wow... very tragic. RIP John Wes Townley https://t.co/RGAf0uv7pi- Eric Estepp (@EricEstepp17) October 3, 2021
Damn. Rest Easy JWT. Heartbreaking- Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) October 3, 2021
Absolutely devastating news about John Wes Townley. Praying for his family and Friends.- Todd Bodine (@Team_Onion) October 3, 2021
Heartbroken for John Wes Townley's family. Absolutely devastating.- Kaitlyn Vincie (@kaitlynvincie) October 3, 2021
Tributes have come flooding in for Townley with motorsport fans flocking to social media to pay their respects to the 31-year-old.
Current NASCAR star Bubba Wallace tweeted: "Damn. Rest Easy JWT. Heartbreaking."
While motorsport reporter Chris Knight added: "I am saddened to hear about what happened and my thoughts and prayers are with all the parties involved."
Townley compete in 76 NASCAR races from 2008 to 2016 and his first and only win came almost exactly six years to the day that he died.