- (Photo: Screenshot/Kentucky Courier-Journal)
A Baptist pastor in Dansville, Kentucky has been arrested in connection to three homicides that took place at a pawn shop earlier in September.
Danville police officials announced at a press conference this week that they had arrested Kenneth A. Keith, a 48-year-old Baptist pastor at Main Street Baptist Church in Burnside, for his alleged connection to the murders that took place on Sept. 20 at the ABC Gold Games and More store. Keith was charged with three counts of murder and one count of first-degree robbery and transferred from Pulaski County Jail to Boyle County Jail early Thursday, police said.
On Sept. 20, police received a 911 call from a 9-year-old boy, who said there had been a robbery and shooting at his parents' ABC Gold Games and More store. Police arrived at the store on South Fourth Street in Danville to find the owners, Michael and Angela Hockensmith, along with a third victim, Daniel Smith, shot to death.The shooter had left the store by opening its garage door and fleeing through a small alley, past other small businesses and a dry cleaner.
Keith was reportedly the former owner of the pawn shop where the shooting occurred, and also formerly the pastor to Michael Hockensmith. The two had co-managed the shop for two years together before Keith was forced to sell the business to Michael after hitting difficult financial times.
Keith was arrested this week at his new shop, Gold Rush Gold Buyers in Somerset, where he also has a home. Tony Hockensmith, Michael's brother, told the local Kentucky Herald Leader that his brother had stopped selling his gold to Keith and had begun selling it to Daniel Smith, saying that could be the reason for the shooting.
"I guess that's where the problems started," Hockensmith told the local media outlet. "We had our suspicions that it was somebody close," Hockensmith continued, adding, "Nobody expects this from a pastor."
Steve Devine, the shop's co-owner, told WDRB News that the whole incident is "shocking," adding it was very out of character for Keith to commit such a crime. "It's shocking. As shocking as the murders were, this is just as shocking," he said. "To know him and talk to him, like I said it's just shocking. From what I know of him, it's totally out of his persona," Devine added.
Keith is currently being held without bond and will be arraigned next week. Neighborhood business owners, like John Coers of Ultimate Thunder, a utility vehicle dealer, told WKYT that he and his fellow business owners are pleased someone has been arrested in the case.
"I think it's definitely united the community. I speak to a lot of other business owners in this area, obviously it's the talk of the town. Everyone was wondering what happened, now we know. We're all relieved that they've captured someone. It's all starting to gel and make some sense now," Coers said.