Sheriff: Upset Kentucky man kills nephew, shoots niece amid argument

Carolyn Stipe told detectives her husband was upset with his nephew, 65-year-old James Hanks, earlier in the day Saturday, Dec. 30, and became upset when they went out to dinner.

POLK CITY, Fla. -- A family's visit from Kentucky turned into a deadly tragedy as an uncle shot his niece and nephew before turning the gun on himself.

Rickie Stipe, 68, and his wife, Carolyn, traveled from Kentucky to visit the Hanks family on Evans Road, according to a Polk County Sheriff's Office news release.

Carolyn Stipe told detectives her husband was upset with his nephew, 65-year-old James Hanks, earlier in the day Saturday, Dec. 30, and became upset when they went out to dinner. She later asked Rickie Stipe why he was upset; he responded by grabbing her by the throat and left in his car, deputies say.

When he returned, James Hanks confronted him about the incident. Rickie Stipe replied he was going to get a gun kept in a motorhome he was staying in while visiting.

Rickie Stipe came back out with the gun, raised it to his nephew and shot him twice, the release states. He then turned and shot his niece, 59-year-old Kathleen Hanks.

When interviewed by investigators, Carolyn Stipe said her husband then looked at her with a blank stare and shot himself. He died from his injury.

Kathleen Hanks is being treated at an area hospital for the gunshot wound; Carolyn Stipe for chest pains.

Police were told Rickie Stipe was diagnosed with schizophrenia more than 10 years ago but refused to take any medication. He has no prior criminal record, according to investigators.

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