A Kentucky man fatally shot his parents, girlfriend, and her mother before taking his own life in what is being called a “horrific murder spree.”
Joseph Nickell, the shooter identified by Kentucky State Police, is said to have fatally shot his parents, James and Arlene Nickell, along with his girlfriend, Lindsey Vanhoose, and Lindsey’s mother, Patricia Vanhoose, State Police Trooper William Petry told PEOPLE. The ages of the victims and Joseph Nickell were not given.
“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,” Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price said in a statement on the police department's Facebook page.
Authorities were alerted to a possible shooting in the Mackenzie Branch community of Johnson County at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10. Upon arriving at the location, authorities discovered two bodies in the kitchen, which were later identified as Nickell’s parents. They also discovered a note, though the details of that note have not yet been released.
According to a witness, the suspect had led the premises in a black Toyota Camry. A second witness called 911 shortly after reporting to have seen the vehicle parked outside of an apartment complex about 7 miles away.
Authorities responded to the call and searched the apartment complex, where they discovered the bodies of Lindsey and Patricia Vanhoose, along with the body of the suspect, Joseph Nickell.
“I ask for prayers for the families,” Sheriff Price’s statement continued on Facebook.
The investigation into the incident is still ongoing. Police have not yet released a possible motive.