Ryan and Darren Boling (left to right) look toward their father's home at 325 Baker Bridge Road in Cleveland, Tenn., on Friday. A triple homicide was reported at the residence around 7 a.m. The brothers along with another family member returned to the scene in the midafternoon to retrieve Charles Boling Jr.'s dog.
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Ann Matthews awoke Friday to the whup-whup-whup of a helicopter flying near her home and the ringing of her phone. Her son was on the other line, asking what was going on around the corner.
Out on her front porch, Matthews heard a woman’s wail pierce the air from a few houses away. The woman had been told that her father, mother and brother were dead.
Police said Charles Boling Jr., 47, a lifelong resident of the area, and his parents, Charles and Gail, were found dead in Boling Jr.’s home at 325 Baker Bridge Road.
Boling Jr.’s friend Kenneth Kilgore was in the house with several gunshot wounds, still alive. He was airlifted to Erlanger hospital, where he was in critical condition in an intensive care unit Friday night, Bradley County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bob Gault said.
On Facebook, Boling Jr. and Kilgore are listed as being in a “domestic partnership,” and county property records show they are joint owners of the house in a rural northeastern corner of Bradley County.
Sheriff’s investigators spent all day Friday at the home, trying to unravel what led to the deadly shootings.
Police now believe Boling Sr., 67, had argued the night before with his 65-year-old wife and she had gone to stay with her son. But sometime before 7 a.m. Friday, Boling Sr. drove to the house and shot his wife, his son and Kilgore before killing himself, Gault said.
Investigators found several weapons in Boling Jr.’s home, but Gault declined to give any more details.
The neighborhood was somber Friday morning as family members gathered at the home of Boling Jr.’s sister on Chilcutt Road NE, about a quarter-mile from the crime scene. Boling Jr.’s son Ryan, who was at his aunt’s home, said the family didn’t want to talk.
Ryan is one of Boling Jr.’s two sons from a previous marriage, friends and neighbors said.
Drivers slowed as they passed the yellow crime-scene tape around Boling Jr.’s home, which is near the Polk County line about halfway between Charleston and Benton. Several people stopped in front of the home to cry and embrace.
Neighbors said Charles and Gail Boling lived at the house before giving it to their son nearly 20 years ago when they moved to Ooltewah. The elder Bolings, who had two daughters and a son, were well known in the area, and many neighbors had fond memories of them.
“I loved Gail and her husband,” said Mary Lawson, Boling Jr.’s next-door neighbor.
When told that Boling Sr. was the one police believe pulled the trigger, Lawson expressed shock, saying, “They were real nice people.”
Lawson said she used to baby-sit Boling Jr. and his older sisters when he was only 2 years old.
“He’s a good boy,” she said.
Boling Jr. had been living with Kilgore for several years, but they were private people, said Kathy Maupin, daughter of Ann Matthews.
Boling Jr.’s nieces and nephews were always at the house and loved to spend time with their uncle on the porch, Maupin said.
“It’s where all the kids wanted to hang out,” she said.
Boling Jr. used to work for Olin Chemical in Charleston, but left unexpectedly several years ago, said Eddie Evans, Matthews’ brother-in-law who worked with Boling Jr. at the plant.
“Everybody liked him; he was a joker,” Evans said.
The last time he saw Boling Jr., Evans said, was when a large tree fell across Boling’s house during an April 27 tornado. The house had been repaired since then.
“They stayed to themselves,” he said.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...