Baltimore County Police investigators believe that Jason Hendrix, a 16-year-old high school cadet, murdered his parents and sister at their home in Corbin, Kentucky. Hendrix then fled Kentucky in the family car and headed to Baltimore, Maryland, where he was shot and killed by police officers in a firefight after a high-speed chase.
After he refused to stop, a high-speed chase ensued which ended in a firefight in which Hendrix reportedly shot and wounded one officer before police returned fire and killed him. He opened fire on police at Maryland Route 702 and Hyde Park Road, after he crashed into a sedan and was forced to stop.
After Baltimore County Police contacted the Corbin Police Department, Officer Steve Meadors went to the teenager’s home on Saturday where he found the dead bodies of members of Jason’s family, including his father, Kevin Hendrix; mother, Sarah Hendrix; and 12-year-old sister Grace Hendrix.
The three had died of gunshot wounds, Baltimore Sun reports.
Kevin Hendrix was dressed in a coat and tie, apparently going to work, when he was shot twice in the head at close range. Sarah was shot twice in the face as she was entering the kitchen from the garage. It appeared she had just returned home from work.
Jason’s sister, Grace, was shot twice in the head at close range and once in the arm. She was apparently shot through a pillow.
According to Corbin police, two of the bodies were found in the kitchen and one in a bedroom with pillows on their faces. Corbin Police Chief Campbell, said, “He left them where they were and put the pillows over their heads.”
Campbell said Sunday that police investigators believe Jason shot his family members late Wednesday afternoon and went to church in the evening. Friends who saw him at church said nothing about his behavior suggested that something terrible had happened.
According to Campbell, “They said he was just like he usually is.”
Only one members of the family survived – a daughter who was attending college in Georgia.
Jason had been missing from his school, Corbin High School, since last Tuesday.
Detective William Rose of the Corbin Police Department, said “All indications look that way. Yes, he is a suspect.”
Investigators said Sunday they believe that after Jason shot his family members he fled in the family’s green Honda Pilot to Maryland via New Jersey, where he stopped on Thursday to buy gas.
Police remain puzzled why he chose to flee to the East Coast. Friends, neighbors and relatives said the family had no connections in the part of the country.
“We have no clue why he went up there. He left them where they were and put the pillows over their heads.”
Jason, a member of his high school’s junior ROTC program, reportedly engaged police in shootout with a handgun, according to the Corbin News Journal. Police said he was carrying four other weapons and had plenty of ammunition in his vehicle.
Baltimore County Police said six officers fired their weapons during the encounter on Saturday and Jason reportedly died on the spot. The officers involved in the shootout have been placed on administrative leave pending review of the case.
The police officer wounded in the shootout was treated at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and has since been released.
Jason’s Facebook page indicates that he worked at Playing Guitars, the Tri-County Cineplex and the Forward Community Church. According to neighbors, Jason’s father, Kevin, was an enthusiastic beekeeper, who sold honey at the local market in Corbin, a small quiet town with a population of about 7, 300. His wife, Sarah, was a professor at the Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky. Twelve-year-old Grace was an immensely popular sixth grade cheerleader.
Union College expressed sorrow about the “tragic” incident in a Facebook post.
A neighbor said she last saw the family on Tuesday evening when Kevin was walking the family dog. She described the family as a churchgoing “classic small-town family.” She also said she noticed that the school bus had not stopped in front of the family house to drop Grace for several days.
Friends, neighbors and relatives are struggling to understand why Jason murdered his family. He was described by all who knew him as a “nice” and easygoing young man.
But Jason, an active member of a three-year-old church, the Forward Community Church, had reportedly clashed with his parents, prompting the intervention of their church pastor, Drew Mahan. But Mahan, 34, said the matter “was nothing really serious — just typical teenage stuff.”
George Razmus, 46, who owns the movie theater the Forward Community Church uses, said Jason had expressed anger that his father grounded him for texting someone after he forbade him to text that person.But he also said that the matter was not serious, “Just normal stuff. There was never any sign of anything you would think could cause this.”
His father reportedly took away his computer privileges a few days before the shooting.
Police said that a co-worker reported that Jason’s mother, Sarah, had told her that Jason was mad about his father taking away his computer privileges.
Mahan, who baptized Jason in December, was also struggling to understand why Jason killed his family.
“People want to ask questions. Why? How? I simply looked at folks today and said, ‘I don’t know.’ The guy has been here. He’s been an influence on our students, he’s been an influence on my own kids. They love him.”
[Images: Facebook; WKYT-TV]