ERWIN — The names of the three victims and alleged shooter in an apparent triple homicide-suicide that occurred early Saturday morning at the Town Acres apartments in Erwin have been released.
On Monday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation identified the three victims as as Bridget N. Hughes, 39, Whitney Hughes 12, and Austin Hughes, 11. The alleged shooter was identified as Herbert Clyde Hughes Jr., 47.
TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said Monday that the investigation of the incident is still ongoing, as the TBI has more to do as far as submitting evidence to its crime lab and “putting all the pieces together.” She also said the case will remain open for as long as TBI agents need in order to compile a case file for the District Attorney to review.
“We know that there had been a history of domestic problems. With all the individuals being deceased, it’s difficult to know what led up to the murders,” Helm said by email.
According to a release issued Saturday by Erwin Police Chief Regan Tilson, officers from the Erwin Police Department were dispatched to 750 Carolina Ave., Apt. 124B, at around 2:11 a.m. on the report of a wounded person calling 911.
Officers made entry into the residence, where the bodies of the two adults and two children were found, the release said. It also said it appeared the adult male, now identified as Herbert Clyde Hughes Jr., shot and killed his wife, Bridget Hughes, and their two children before turning the gun on himself.
“This appears to be a domestic-related incident where the aggressor inflicted fatal gunshot wounds to his wife and two children then took his own life,” the release said. “This was a very traumatic event for the families of the deceased and the community.”
A snowman surrounded by toys, flowers and other items left by friends, neighbors and mourners could be seen outside the Hugheses’ apartment Monday, and a candlelight vigil for the family was held Monday evening. Neighbors in the Town Acres community say the community is still in shock and the situation is still hard to grasp.
“You don’t know what to do, you don’t know what to say,” Town Acres resident Sandra Carver said. “You hear stuff like this happening around other places but not in your own community.”
Carver described the incident as a “senseless tragedy” that possibly could have been avoided. She said it will be difficult to no longer see the Hughes children out playing in the neighborhood as they did every day.
“The kids were as sweet as they could be, and they didn’t deserve something like this and his wife didn’t either,” Carver said. “They will surely be missed.”
Fellow Town Acres resident JoAnn Young agreed with Carver, adding that adults and children in the community are having a difficult time understanding what has happened.
“It’s just like it’s real, but it’s not real,” Young said. “It’s like a bad dream not to see them out playing or riding their bicycles.”
Young described those in the Town Acres community as a “family,” and Carver asked people to pray for both the Hughes family and residents of the close-knit community.
“Everyone knows everyone else,” Carver said. “When one of us hurts, we all hurt.”