Logan man kills 3 family members, himself

Shooter served jail time for Athens County murder in 1974

Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North answers questions at the scene of last night's triple-murder/suicide.

The Associated Press

LOGAN, Ohio (AP) — A family dispute ended when a man caring for his terminally ill wife apparently shot and killed her two sisters and his son before fatally shooting himself, authorities said.

A cousin said the man was upset that the relatives were keeping him from spending time alone with his cancer-stricken wife.

Deputies who stormed the home around 9 p.m. Monday found the man dead on the front porch and the three other bodies on the living room floor, Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North said.

Officers had been waiting outside for hours since being called about a possible hostage situation at the house near Logan, about 50 miles southeast of Columbus. A person who had been held hostage was able to flee, the sheriff told reporters.

The gunfire erupted after some type of family squabble, North said. It was over jealousy, said Matthew Henderson, 45, a cousin of the man.

"They — the two sisters and his son — were staying out there, and he said he couldn't spend any time with her," Henderson said.

Henderson said his own wife happened to call the home immediately after the shooting and spoke with the ailing woman, who said that her 63-year-old husband "shot everybody" and then went outside.

"I said, 'What's he doing?' (She said) 'I think he's waiting on more people to come so he could kill them,'" Henderson recounted.

The wife was not shot and didn't say why she'd been spared, Henderson said. "I think he thought if he would kill her he would go to hell," he said.

Henderson said his cousin had recently bought two or three plots at a cemetery, though it didn't seem unusual for a man whose wife had terminal cancer. He described his relative as unpredictable and unstable and said that he might have taken some pills and been drinking before the shooting.

"I thought what would happen is that he would wait until she passed away and then he would shoot himself," he said. "I didn't think he would shoot other people, I thought he would take his own life."

A sheriff's dispatcher said Tuesday he had no information on the names of the victims and the shooter. The sheriff's office planned to issue a news release later in the morning.

The killings have rocked the area, the sheriff said.

"This is normally a pretty quiet county," North said. "We have a few major crimes occasionally but nothing of this magnitude."

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