THANKSGIVING ENDS IN TRAGEDY
by B J BECKMAN –
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time for families to gather, appreciate each other and enjoy a meal all in the spirit of love. But as most of us know, Thanksgiving often brings critical comments over one’s cooking, unwelcomed opinions over life choices and gives rise to animosities best left brewing below the surface. For one New Grace family everything boiled over on Thanksgiving.
The Griffin family gathered at the home of Lisa Griffin Pentel and her husband Patrick. There were twenty-six in attendance for a buffet style dinner, nine guests spent Thanksgiving Eve at their home and seven people intended to spend the night. By the end of the evening three guests had been pronounced dead, two more were in critical condition and two had been treated and released from New Grace County Hospital.
“I should have known something was wrong,” said Mary, wife of David Williams who died in the shooting and a sister of the suspect. “My sister and my mother in the same house, maybe four hours, and no one was screaming.”
According to witnesses, Elizabeth Griffin said she was going to the car to get her purse. She came back in the house, took a gun out of her purse and fired at her mother. “After she shot my mother, my brother-in-law, Frankie, tried to get the gun away from her. That’s when it went off and she shot Junior,” said Lisa Griffin Pentel.
“My mother-in-law was definitely the target. Shooting Junior was an accident,” defended Patrick Pentel. “But once she shot Junior, she panicked and just started shooting randomly.”
Lynette Griffin, 62, Reno Griffin, 23, and Brooklyn Bellows, 16, were pronounced dead at the scene.
A neighbor, who came out to see why the police were on her street, returned to her home to find the glass in the backdoor had been broken and the contents of her handbag scattered on the kitchen counter. “When I noticed my keys missing I ran to the garage and my car was gone. Then I told the police.”
“Once we knew what she was driving, she was in custody within an hour,” said Det. Malcolm Corley who found the suspect parked outside the nearest Piggly Wiggly trying to buy a last minute airplane ticket, on Thanksgiving.