A man killed his mother on Mother’s Day at a rural Oregon home, then went to a grocery store in a nearby town carrying a decapitated human head and began stabbing a checkout clerk before being subdued, authorities said on Monday.
Officers determined that the head the man was carrying belonged to his mother, the Sandy Police Department said.
An autopsy was under way on the body of Tina Webb, 59, the same day that her son, 36-year-old Joshua Webb, was booked on charges of murder and attempted murder in the case.
The gruesome chain of events unfolded in two tiny, rural towns once known for logging about 48km south of Portland and sent shockwaves through Estacada, where most people knew the white-haired checkout clerk, identified as 66-year-old Michael Wagner, for his warmth and quick sense of humor.
David Webb, the father of Joshua Webb, sobbed as he struggled to process his wife’s death and his son’s arrest in one horrible day.
Joshua Webb had vision problems and received Social Security payments, his father said.
He lived at home so his parents could take care of him, his father said, adding that they had recently bought him a dog because he said he wanted one.
His mother had said she believed her son was depressed, but David Webb said he never saw any indication of that when he spoke with his son.
“I never foresaw a problem. If I had I would have stopped it,” David Webb said, before bursting into loud sobs during a telephone interview. “I just can’t believe I lost my wife and son in one day... I don’t know. I wish I did. I wish I had some answers, but I don’t. I waited all my life to retire with my wife, and now I can’t. That’s all I know.”
The bizarre sequence began Sunday afternoon — Mother’s Day — in Colton.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said Webb killed his mother at their rural home, but it did not provide more details.
Joshua Webb then went to a Thriftway in downtown Estacada, about 20km to the north.
When he entered the small grocery store, he was covered in blood, had a large “kitchen-type” knife and was carrying a severed human head, authorities said.
He began stabbing a store employee, but he was quickly overwhelmed by other employees, who held him until police arrived, authorities said.
Wagner was hospitalized and was expected to survive.
Joshua Webb had not yet made a court appearance.
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