Tragic gun violence shattered the wholesome image of the ultra-conservative Christian Stockdale Family Band made up of a father and his four sons, in Stark County, Ohio, Thursday when one of the sons allegedly shot his younger brother and mother dead then turned the gun on himself, local authorities say.
The Stark County Sheriff’s Office told The Columbus Dispatch that tragedy struck the Stockdale Family Farm Thursday when the alleged shooter, Jacob T. Stockdale, 25, used a shotgun to fatally shoot his brother, James W. Stockdale, 21, and mother, Kathryn B. Stockdale, before shooting himself. He was transported to Cleveland Metro Hospital where he is currently in critical condition, according to Cantonrep.com.
“We didn’t see anything that would raise suspicion (indicating an intruder or drug or alcohol use). It’s another tragedy in our community,” Sheriff George T. Maier told the Dispatch on Thursday.
Maier explained that a 911 call came in to the Sheriff’s Office at 4:36 p.m. as a hang up call as storms raged outside. Two deputies were sent to the home to investigate and they discovered the tragic crime scene when they entered the home.
At a press conference on Friday, Maier said deputies heard a shot and they believe it was Jacob shooting himself in the head as they approached. His body was found near the door of the family home.
The family patriarch, Tim Stockdale, was said to be at work when the shooting occurred but was floored by the news shortly after he arrived home at 6 p.m.
The Dispatch said he wailed on his knees along the driveway leading to the farmhouse and was interviewed by authorities for about an hour.
“Kathy has been my beloved wife of 32 years and a wonderful mother to our four sons. She loved nothing more than being a mother and grandmother. She had a strong love of learning and was passionate about her Christian faith, natural health, and organic farming,” Tim Stockdale said in a statement on his wife’s death Friday.
There is no clear indication yet about what triggered the shooting as local authorities continue to investigate.
Maier noted at the press conference that Tim Stockdale “indicated no issues leading up to” the incident.
“It’s hard to surmise what the motive may have been. There’s some speculation. … We’ll continue to investigate this case and try to determine the motive,” Maier noted.
“It’s really early in the investigation. There are a lot of unanswered questions for us yet,” he added. “This is a tragedy for the family. It is a tragedy for the community.”
Several years ago the devoutly religious family appeared on ABC’s “Wife Swap” where Kathryn Stockdale revealed they had banned television and video games in their home.