Goodlettsville murder-suicide leaves many seeking answers

The family of Travis and Barbara Pitts. Travis Pitts killed Barbara and two daughters on...
The family of Travis and Barbara Pitts. Travis Pitts killed Barbara and two daughters on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.(Photo submitted)
Updated: Jan. 31, 2022 at 10:01 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Friends of the Pitts family struggle to understand how a father can shoot his wife and two daughters in their home before killing himself this week.

Barbara Pitts’ success story was a beacon of hope.

“Barbara and Travis were well respected and loved by our family here at Nashville Rescue Mission,” Nashville Rescue Mission CEO Glenn Cranfield said. “We featured them in a lot of information we sent out.”

When Cranfield heard the horrific ending to this couple’s story, he didn’t want to believe it.

“I thought there must be something mistaken, something wrong,” Cranfield thought. “They had the names messed up or something. It just was unbelievable.”

Metro Police said 32-year-old James Travis Pitts shot his wife, 32-year-old Barbara Pitts, and two girls, 13-year-old Makayla Kleinert and 6-year-old Riley Pitts. The deadly shooting took place inside their Greer Road home early Friday morning. The 911 calls reveal an eerie calm, confusion, and harsh realization.

“Honestly, I just shot my wife and kids, and I’m about to shoot myself as soon as I see y’all pull up,” James Travis Pitts told a dispatcher on Friday.

Police said Travis Pitts called dispatch around 6:30 a.m.  In the call, he admitted that he shot and killed his family. The dispatcher asked him to explain what had happened.

“I just snapped. I don’t know. I can’t get these thoughts out of my head,” James Travis Pitts said.

Dispatch offered help multiple times, and James Travis Pitts declined, saying, “there is no coming back from this. I mean, I just killed my family.”

Cranfield knows how important it is for people to feel loved at the rescue mission and how fragile a person’s mental health can be.

“While I don’t know what the snapping point was, I do know they were loved,” Cranfield said. “The needs of mental health are real. We need to understand that and know that and encourage people to reach out for help.”

Cranfield understands that many people are angry about this tragic incident and want answers.

“I don’t think we can understand why someone would do such a thing,” Cranfield said. “There are times of mental health issues that cause people to do things and say things that they wouldn’t normally do.”

It is troubling to think a person has been treated, gone through the program, has support, is employed serving others, knows he and she are loved, children of God, and this can still happen,

“Ours is a very difficult business on its best days. And so, when something like this happens, it just reaffirms and recommits us to really doing what we do,” Cranfield admitted. “It’s so devastating. There are no easy answers. I wish I had answers for any of it. But I don’t have any answers. I just know that while they were here, they were loved.”

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