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Gunman kills four, then self in Kentucky: police

(Reuters) - Five people, including a suspected gunman who apparently took his own life, were killed in a shooting spree at two locations in northeastern Kentucky, officials said on Sunday.

Police received a 911 call about 4 p.m. on Saturday about a shooting at a rural home near Paintsville, about 160 miles (260 km) southeast of Louisville, Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price said in a statement on Facebook.

Officers found two people dead at the home then began searching for the shooter, Price said in the statement. 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.

“This has been a horrific murder spree,” Price said. “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.”

Officials identified the gunman as Joseph Nickell, but no other information about him was made available.

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. Also killed, at the apartment in Paintsville, were his girlfriend, Lindsey Vanhoose, and her mother, Patricia Vanhoose.

The shooting came about three weeks after the state was rocked by a high school shooting in Benton, where two students were killed and 18 students wounded by a fellow student, who remains in custody.

Reporting by Rich McKay and Bernie Woodall; Editing by Paul Tait and Alistair Bell