Community coping with Bellevue family deaths - WSMV Channel 4

Community coping with Bellevue family deaths

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A memorial to three family members killed is growing outside their Beach Bend Drive home, but police are saying little new about what happened early Sunday morning.

Police said suspect Craig Garber remained in the hospital under the guard of an officer in critical but stable condition. Detectives are still on the scene 36 hours after the incident, trying to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

Bellevue neighbors are trying to do the same after the deaths of grandmother Marylea Jordan, 71, her daughter Michelle Pinkowski and Pinkowski's son, Jonathan Culpepper, 14.

"I'm sure he's repented by now. I'm sure he feels terrible," said neighbor Jacki Allison. "I was put in the middle of a common bond of people that were broken and I prayed with each and every one of these people.

"They were good people. I cannot over emphasize. Craig was a good and kind person. Michelle and her family, they were great people."

Early Sunday morning, police said they discovered Garber covered in blood in the doorway of the Beech Bend Drive home.

"He uttered something to the effect of 'just kill me' to the officers," said police spokesman Don Aaron. "Garber was ordered to the ground. He complied and was handcuffed."

The officers searched the home and found the bodies of Culpepper, Pinkowski and Jordan.

Police said they believe Garber stabbed all three before turning the knife on himself. Garber lived two doors down and just moved to Nashville a year ago. Allison said he spoke about his previous life as a paramedic in Massachusetts who helped during 9/11 search and recovery efforts, and often helped other families in this neighborhood.

"He would help me anytime I needed it," said Allison. "I had a guinea pig who died a few months ago and it was at midnight and he came and buried it for my daughter."

How things changed remains a mystery tonight. Police said Garber and Pinkowski had spent time together and chatted on his porch just hours before the murder.

Garber, as Channel 4 News reported Sunday, canceled his membership in the YMCA just hours before the deaths occurred. On Monday we ran across someone who often worked out with him.

"He might have been a little socially awkward at times, but I truly felt for the guy," said Clay Cook, who played basketball with Garber at the YMCA. "He was really good-hearted and wanted you to talk to him."

As police continue their investigation, only speculation can truly explain a terrible set of events.

"It was just two lonely people that wanted to hang out," said Allison. "They all have hearts. Just something went wrong."

Police continue their work to try to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

Pinkowski's 9-year-old daughter, who happened to witness her grandmother's death before running to a neighbor's house and had that person call 911, is currently in Department of Children's Services custody. There is talk in the community of establishing an educational fund to help her move forward.

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