CHARLESTON, W. Va. — The man who shot and killed another man Sunday on Charleston’s West Side and then turned the gun on himself was seeking revenge, according to Charleston detectives.
In a news conference Tuesday, Charleston Police Chief of Detectives Lt. Steve Cooper said Patrick Price, 34, murdered Michael Cassell, 36, for filing a child-abuse complaint against him.
“Based on the fact the Cassell family initiated the complaint, Mr. Price retaliated for that and actually took the man’s life,” said Cooper.
Around the first of the year, the Cassell family and others alleged that Price sexually abused a teenage girl who was a friend of the family. Cooper said police were in the process of interviewing Price regarding the alleged abuse incident mere days before the murder.
“At the time of the interview, he had agreed to come back downtown,” said Cooper. “He said he was out of town working, but when he got back he would contact us and was willing to take a lie detector test and things of that nature.”
That was the last time detectives spoke with Price before he went through with the murder. Cooper said the Cassell family and Price were not on good terms.
“There was an ongoing dispute between he and the Cassells because they were pretty clear with him they know what’s going on and they are going to help this girl,” said Cooper. “He didn’t like that.”
Cooper said police lacked enough evidence at the time to charge Price with anything in connection with the child-abuse case.
In the few encounters they had with Price, however, Cooper said police could see he was a dangerous man.
“We sensed that he may be a volatile-type person. We took precautions when we dealt with him,” said Cooper. “He had a criminal history that indicated that he was a violent person.”
Cassell’s wife, 11-year-old daughter and sister-in-law were in the house at the time of the shooting on Red Oak Street, but managed to escaped without injury.
Cooper said despite Price’s death, the child-abuse case is still open and remains under investigation.