'Horrific murder spree' leaves 5 dead in Kentucky


The first call for help coming in around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

The deceased gunman was identified as Joseph Nickell, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The victims were identified on Sunday by Kentucky State Police as the suspect's mother, Arlene Nickell and his father, James Nickell, killed at the rural home. A second 911 call led deputies and police to an apartment in Paintsville, where three people were found fatally shot, including the gunman, the statement said.

The identities of the victims were not released pending notification of their relatives, officials said.

Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price posted a statement on Facebook detailing the crime.

Authorities in eastern Kentucky are characterizing the shooting deaths of five people over the weekend as a murder-suicide involving multiple family members.

Price said after receiving a tip on the whereabouts of a suspect's vehicle, three more bodies, including that of the presumed shooter, were later found at an apartment complex.

'There are no words to describe the heartbreak in seeing four lives taken due to the actions of one man. As officers searched an apartment complex near the vehicle, they discovered two more people who were shot and killed. I have worked in law enforcement for 34 years. A message left with Petry wasn't immediately returned. A witness alerted authorities that Nickell was responsible for the killings, giving them a description of the black Toyota Camry he drove off in.

As this is an ongoing investigation, we will update with the latest information as it becomes available.

"Working a murder is never easy", Price said.