Police: 5 slain in W.Va. before suspect kills self

September 6, 2011 - 3:20 PM
WVA Slayings

Charles Richardson Jr. stands in the rain outside a rural home near Morgantown, W.Va., Tuesday Sept. 6, 2011. Richardson's son and four other family members were shot to death at this house on Monday Sept. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Vicki Smith)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — A man with a high-powered rifle and two other guns shot and killed five people at a West Virginia home and fled, fatally shooting himself hours later during a police chase in Kentucky, authorities said Tuesday.

Troopers found the bodies of the victims Monday at a ramshackle home west of Morgantown in northern West Virginia, state police Capt. James Merrill said at a news conference.

Merrill would not comment on a motive or say how the suspect, 22-year-old Shayne Riggleman of Morgantown, was connected to any of the victims. He called it one of the "most heinous crimes" he had come across.

Charles Richardson Jr., whose son Charles was among the dead, said he didn't recognize Riggleman's name or know of his connection to the family. He told The Associated Press that he wasn't aware of any trouble his son was having with anyone.

Charles Richardson's father told AP his son was a FedEx employee who liked to tinker with vehicles and computers, adding "I loved my son."

After the killings, Riggleman drove about 20 miles to Fairchance, Pa., and met with a female friend whom authorities would not identify, Merrill said. Upon leaving, he crashed into another vehicle near Fairchance and then ran down the elderly female driver as she got out of her car, according to the police spokesman.

Police declined to identify the woman, who was seriously injured.

According to police, Riggleman then fled south on Interstate 79.

Merrill said Riggleman "randomly shot and severely wounded" Don Nichols, an attendant at an Exxon station in Amma, about 30 miles outside the West Virginia capital of Charleston, before heading to Kentucky.

Nichols was reported in critical condition but was expected to survive.

Sometime later, a Lewis County, Ky., deputy tried to pull over Riggleman for reckless driving but he didn't immediately stop, authorities said. The deputy pursued the vehicle until the driver pulled over about a half-mile down the road. The deputy found Riggleman with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Lewis County Sheriff Johnny Bivens said.

Merrill identified the five home shooting victims as 49-year-old Charles Richardson III; his wife, 50-year-old Karin Richardson; her children, 17-year-old Kevin Hudson and 22-year-old Katrina Hudson; and 30-year-old Robert Raber. Katrina Hudson was six months' pregnant.

Raber lived in the house, but Merrill didn't elaborate on his relationship to the other victims.

Merrill said Riggleman had three guns when he was found — the high-powered rifle, a second rifle and a .22-caliber handgun. He said he believed the five victims shot in the home were killed with the high-powered rifle.

"It's unfortunate it ended the way it did ... but I do not believe he would've stopped," Merrill said.

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Associated Press write Rebecca Yonker in Louisville, Ky., contributed to this report.