Two Families Linked By Tragedy Following Deadly I-40 Shooting Spree

Thursday, December 17th 2015, 11:07 pm
By: News 9

Two families are forever linked by tragedy after a man randomly shot drivers. The gunman, a man out of Texas, is in custody. Right now the motive is a mystery, and for those who loved the two victims nothing will be the same.

"I guess that'll never happen,” said Ronnie West.

A lot of things won't happen now after Jeffery Kent Powell and Billie Jean West were gunned down along I-40, shot by a man they've never met just days before Christmas.

"My wife was a very loving woman,” he said.

Ronnie West was waiting for his wife Billie Jean to get home from Christmas shopping. The presents are unwrapped and scattered around the house, and the lives of loved ones are now upside down.

12/17/15 Related Story: Family Of Victim In Deadly I-40 Shooting Speaks Out

"This is going to turn my whole life around,” West said.

Billie Jean had three daughters. She was a devoted grandmother and never missed school events.

"The grandkids,” West said. “They all loved her."

While Billie Jean was on her way home to Lone Wolf, Kent Powell was headed to home to Arapaho where he was very active in the community. He helped out at the school, church, and owned a business.

"An extremely hardworking guy, extremely funny,” Malinda Freeman said.

However, one of his biggest roles was as a father.

"He's got two lovely boys, two very fine young men, and it'll be very hard for them,” she said.

And will be hard for everyone affected – a horrific case of road rage that'll stretch far beyond the lanes of Interstate 40, leaving behind questions and heartache for a lifetime.

"We want people to know that it's not acceptable,” Freeman said. “If you're hurting, if you have issues then seek some professional help to get that done. Don't take your issues out on random people."

The suspect, 36-year-old Jeremy Hardy, is in jail without bond. He has a history and was indicted for assault in 2005. He also has a 2006 public intoxication arrest.