Community remembers couple killed in Richmond shooting

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 11:58 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - Chris and Gracie Hager owned several properties in Richmond.

Tuesday, they were shot outside one of their apartment buildings on Keystone Drive.

For a lot of people in Richmond, the Shell near EKU’s campus is a stop they make in their every day routine. The Hagers owned the gas station.

People filling up at the pump told us Wednesday that the Hagers were invested in both their businesses and people. People in the community are leaving flowers by the front door of the Shell.

The couple is being remembered for their influence in the community.

“Chris and Gracie Hager were a true cornerstone of the Richmond community and I ask that you keep their friends and family in your thoughts and prayers,” Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe said in a statement.

Police say the suspect in the couple’s killing, Thomas Birl, barricaded himself inside an apartment for hours. After a long stand-off, that resulted in powdered gas being used, police say Birl surrendered.

He was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Well-loved by many in the community, police say Christopher and Gracie Hager were shot and...
Well-loved by many in the community, police say Christopher and Gracie Hager were shot and killed outside of an apartment building they owned on Keystone Drive.(WKYT)

Friends of the Hagers say its hard to comprehend what happened to the couple.

“They improved everything that they did work with. They made a special effort to make it better and they did that,” said neighbor and friend David Williams. “They were very successful and they did it in a way that people liked and it wasn’t abrasive. They were very prominent community people.”

Several of their friends held a prayer vigil late Wednesday night. We’re told a prayer service will also be held Thursday evening at Eastside Community Church at 6:30 p.m.

We’re still working to learn funeral arrangements for the couple.

Richmond police said Birl will be charged with two counts of murder, one count of first degree arson, one count of tampering with physical evidence and one count of first degree criminal mischief.

Right now, it’s still not clear what led up to the shooting. Police said it’s still unknown if Birl and the Hagers knew each other. Police said their preliminary investigation did not indicate the Hagers were at the apartment to serve notice of eviction.

At last check, Birl had not yet been booked in the Madison County Detention Center. Police said he will be taken to jail as soon as his treatment at the hospital is finished.

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