Published On: Mon, Feb 12th, 2018

Kentucky murder suicide leaves four dead and shooter Joseph Nickell

A shocking murder suicide rampage in Kentucky has left five total dead, including the gunman, identified by police as Joseph Nickell.

Johnson County Sheriff’s Department have detailed the events surrounding Saturday’s shootings.

Joseph Nickell photo/ Facebook

Deputies say they were called to a home on McKenzie Branch Road in the Flatgap area around 3:30 Saturday afternoon. There they say they found Arlene and James Nickell dead from gunshot wounds.

Deputies called Kentucky State Police and determined they were looking for the victims’ son, Joseph Nickell. Nickell’s own 19-year-old son was able to escape from the home unharmed and call for help.

Shortly after issuing a BOLO for Nickell’s car, it was spotted at an apartment on Mill Street in Paintsville. There investigators found Lindsey and Patricia Vanhoose dead, as well as Nickell. Troopers say Lindsey was Nickell’s girlfriend and Patricia was her mother.

Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price says he’s never seen anything like it in his law enforcement career.

“This has been a horrific murder spree. The lives of four innocent victims were taken. The perpetrator then took his own life. There are no words to describe the heartbreak in seeing four lives taken due to the actions of one man. I have worked in law enforcement for 34 years. This is one of the most disturbing acts of violence I have ever seen.”

Price says a suicide note was later found at the first crime scene. The details of what was in the note are not being released at this time.

“When you get in there and see that these two elderly people were just sitting there at the kitchen table eating their supper, and ask, ‘How could a biological son do this?’” Said Price.

Price also adds his department knew of Joseph Nickell for much less violent crimes and drug offenses.

Heavy published photos ripped from Nickell’s Facebook page showing that the man owned a cache of guns, well over ten.

The Nickell family’s pastor told The Lexington Herald Leader that he had struggled with drug addiction for years.

James Kelly Caudill, pastor at Tom’s Branch Free Will Baptist Church, said Nickell had been through treatment, but seemed to suffer a setback after his sister, Becki, died several months ago, according to the Herald Leader.

“This boy … he just never did really get over that. I think it just inflamed his addiction,” Caudill told the Herald Leader. “It just come to a head.”

He and his parents attended morning and evening worship services together Feb. 4. That night, Nickell sat between his parents on the front pew, but was “out of it” on some substance, Caudill said.


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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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