Kentucky murder spree leaves 5 dead: Sheriff calls one of ‘most disturbing acts of violence’ he’s ever seen

The murder of four people at two locations Saturday in Johnson County, Ky., by a gunman who then took his own life is a vivid reminder of the horror police often face in the line of duty.

Coupled with the realization that every time an officer puts on a uniform they’re risking their life — on the same day, less than 200 miles away, two officers were fatally shot at a home in a Columbus, Ohio suburb — it becomes a real testament to the impact the job can have on the psyches of the men and women in law enforcement.

The deceased gunman was identified as Joseph Nickell, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The names of the four victims were not immediately released.

SG Sheriff Price2
Screengrab Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price

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

“This has been a horrific murder spree. The lives of four innocent victims were taken. The perpetrator then took his own life,” Price wrote.

Make no mistake, it’s a traumatic experience coming face-to-face with carnage of this nature.

“There are no words to describe the heartbreak in seeing four lives taken due to the actions of one man,” Sheriff Price added. “I have worked in law enforcement for 34 years. This is one of the most disturbing acts of violence I have ever seen.”

In a second post, Sheriff Price shared that in 2013 his department dealt with a son killing his parents.

“The scenes are never the same but the chilling outcome is always heart wrenching,” he noted. “No matter how many deaths you have seen or how many scenes you have been on, it never gets easier.”

His instincts as a public servant then kicked in.

“As officers, one of our first concerns is for the surviving family members,” he concluded. “Our intent is to honor them with as much privacy as possible during their time of grief.”

“Please remember these families in your prayers.”

Tom Tillison


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