PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — A Florida man is accused of fatally shooting a clerk at a hotel in western Kentucky after assaulting two people outside the business who couldn’t give him a cigarette lighter, authorities said.
Robert Pannell, 55, was charged with murder, assault and other crimes at a Best Western hotel in Paducah, the McCracken County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Authorities responded to the business Saturday morning after several callers reported that a man was actively shooting in the hotel, which is located near Interstate 24.
McCracken County Sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Paducah Police Department arrived first, and a deputy found the female victim on the first floor with multiple gunshot wounds to her head and body, officials said. A Paducah officer located a possible suspect outside the hotel and detained him in the parking lot.
An investigation determined that Pannell, who was staying at the hotel, assaulted a couple in the parking lot over a denied request for a cigarette lighter and then went inside the building with a handgun and proceeded to shoot the victim and throw the gun into the lobby, the sheriff’s statement said. Multiple people were in close proximity when the shots were fired. The victim’s name wasn’t released at the request of her family, the statement said.
No motive for the shooting has been discovered, though the investigation is continuing, authorities said.
The McCracken County Sheriff’s Office said Pannell is from Palm Coast, Florida, and detectives were coordinating with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to determine why Pannell was in Kentucky.
Pannell is being held at the McCracken County Jail. Online records don’t indicate whether he has an attorney.