UPDATE: The wife of a man murdered Sunday on Charleston’s West Side says her husband was a hero.
Michael Cassel, 36, died Sunday night at his home on Red Oak Street after being gunned down by Patrick Price, 34, in what police said was a murder-suicide.
Cassel was home with his wife, 11-year-old daughter and sister-in-law at the time of the shooting.
In an interview with WSAZ Monday, the victim’s wife, Erin Cassel, said Price forced his way into the home and the next thing she heard was gunshots.
“And I turned around and looked and I see my husband and Mr. Price on the floor,” Erin Cassel told WSAZ. “And grabbed my baby and I ran.”
Police said Price intentionally targeted Cassel in the incident. Erin Cassel told WSAZ that her husband had tried to protect a teenage girl that was sexually abused by Price. That girl was a friend of the family.
Cassel said her husband is a hero because he saved the teenage girl’s life and their lives as well.
“That’s how I see it, my husband died a hero,” said Cassel. “And now we’re praying and hoping that we get the little girl and we get to have her here with us so that we know that she is safe and my husband did not die in vain.”
Erin Cassel, her daughter and sister were not hurt in the shooting.
Police said Price had a criminal history.
It wasn’t a random act of violence. Charleston Police say a murder-suicide that took place Sunday evening on the city’s West Side was premeditated.
Chief of Detectives Lt. Steve Cooper says Michael Cassel, 36, was gunned down in his own home around 9:30. Lt. Cooper says Patrick Price, 34, forced his way into the home at 926 Red Oak Street.
“[This crime was] definitely not random. The suspect in this case specifically targeted the victim for what we believe to be a specific purpose,” according to Cooper.
Police are not releasing what the purpose was but they say they believe they’ve pinpointed the motive.
Cooper says the victim and Price were acquainted.
“It could be termed a home invasion but the parties were known to each other,” Cooper said.
When Price shot and killed the victim. He wasn’t the only one in the house.
“The victim’s wife and child were in the house at the time and they fled when the shots were fired.”
Cooper says it was the wife who called 911 to report the crime. Neither she nor the 11-year old were injured.
Detectives say this was not your average crime.
“Typically a murder-suicide we would see would be a husband/wife or some type of relationship like that. In this instance, it wasn’t that,” Lt. Cooper said.
Cassel was shot multiple times in his bedroom and was killed instantly. Cooper says there’s still a few loose ends to wrap up.