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Suspect in triple homicide at Danville business eludes capture

September 21, 2013|By KENDRA PEEK | kpeek@amnews.com

A gunman who killed three people Friday at a Danville business remained at large Saturday, and police said they had no surveillance photos of the suspect.

Police were looking for a man described as 40-50 years old, heavy set with a “pot belly,” and wearing a camouflage jacket who robbed ABC Gold, Games and More on South Fourth Street about 9 a.m. Friday.

Business owners Mike Hockensmith, 35, and his wife, Angela, 38, both of Stanford, and their customer, Daniel P. Smith, 60, a gold buyer from Richmond, were killed during the holdup.

Boyle County Coroner Dr. Don Hamner confirmed the deaths were the result of gunshot wounds.
Preliminary autopsy results were unavailable Saturday.

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The robbery was reported by the Hockensmiths’ 9-year-old son, who was at the store along with the couple’s 14-month-old daughter.

Danville Police Chief Tony Gray said the store had no surveillance equipment.

Steve Divine, a family friend of the Hockensmiths and co-owner of the business, said the store had cameras; however, the previous business owner had removed the recording equipment when he left and they had been unable to buy more since purchasing the shop a few months ago.

Divine believes Smith may have been the primary target of the robbery, as he was thought to carry large sums of money.

Smith traveled around the area, and beyond, Divine said, buying and selling gold. Divine said Smith stopped at the Danville store the same time every Friday.

“We do know Mr. Smith had a routine; however, those things take time. We are working on a timeline for him,” Gray said.

“Because he’s from Richmond, it’s bigger,” Gray said. “The suspect could be from Richmond. He could be from Danville. We don’t know.”

The suspect was seen by witnesses hanging around the building prior to the shooting, and later after the shooting had taken place.

An initial description of the suspect as a young man wearing a black hoodie and riding a bicycle was incorrect. Gray said that person was actually a homeless man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“We never thought the 20-year-old was our suspect,” Gray said, noting that police did believe he was a person of interest.

Police determined the gunman exited the store through a door leading into the garage before escaping through the alley between the store and neighboring Rainbow Cleaners.

Friday night, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms contacted Danville police, Gray said, offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information leading to an arrest and conviction in the triple murder.

Divine isn’t sure why ATF would get involved in the case, as the store no longer dealt in firearms

Although a sign in front of the business identified it as a pawn shop, Divine said that was a misnomer.
Since he and the Hockensmiths purchased the store, they were striving to get away from that type of business but hadn’t had the money to remove the sign.

He described the business as more of a “thrift store,” explaining that it sold mostly video games and consoles, other electronics, gold and a little jewelry, although jewelry pieces were not big sellers for the store.

It is unclear what was taken during the robbery.

Gray said while the police department did not seek out help from the ATF, it is more than willing to take it.
“We’re tapping into every law enforcement service that we can,” he said, adding that police are coordinating efforts with Kentucky State Police as well.

Friday’s homicides caused several schools and business to go on lockdown while police searched for the suspect.

The search also prompted a flurry of calls and text messages to dispatch and police regarding gunshots heard in Perryville, Junction City and Lincoln County.

However, the majority of those were untrue.

The original 911 call about the robbery at ABC Gold, Games and More was made by the Hockensmiths’ 9-year-old son.

According to Divine, the child, who was homeschooled by his mother, was in the store and carried his baby sister in the office, locking the door behind him, when he heard the shots.

“He’s my hero,” Divine said.

The children have been placed with their grandparents.

An exchange student from Taiwan also was living with the family, and Divine believes she is now with representatives from the organization that placed her.

Gray said police will “continue to talk to witnesses, see if we can get more, see if they can remember more. We continue to look for video surveillance. We still have avenues, still hope to get tips,” Gray explained.

“We are emphasizing if anybody saw anything to call us. There might be more out there that saw something and don’t realize it.”

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.

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