PAINTSVILLE, Ky. – Detectives are trying to piece together the reason why a Kentucky man fatally shot his parents and two other people before he took his own life last weekend.
Kentucky State Police said the 45-year-old Joseph Nickell shot his parents in their home Saturday afternoon, and drove to his girlfriend’s house and killed her and her mother before taking his own life in Johnson County, an Appalachian county in eastern Kentucky.
State Police Trooper William Petry said investigators on Monday were interviewing family members and neighbors.
“At this moment, I don’t see an indication of the problems he had with the family, we have, of course, still early in it,” said Petry, a spokesman for the Pikeville state police post.
Petry said Bob had a number of felony drug charges in his past, but the researchers have not determined a motive for the massacre. A note written by Bob was found on one of the crime scenes, he added, but police are not releasing the content.
The family of pastor Joseph said Bob had long struggled with the problems of the drug and he saw the family in the church, earlier this month. Pastor James Kelly Caudill told The Lexington Herald-Leader that Bob said something during a service in Tom’s Branch Free will Baptist Church, but his mother calmed him down.
Caudill said Joseph Nickell seemed to suffer a setback after the death of his sister.
The police said Bob shot his parents, James and Arlene Nickell, both in their 70s, before driving on to an apartment in Paintsville and shoot 41-year-old Lindsey Vanhoose and her mother, Patricia Vanhoose, 57. He used the same pistol in all the shootings, Petry said.
Bob’s son was in the house where the first shootings happened, but fled and called 911, police said.