CATOOSA–Chief Raymond Rodgers said Catoosa police are not releasing any further information at this time regarding the “ongoing investigation” into the deaths of a mother and two sons in a shooting which has left this town shocked and shaken.
Early reports indicate Lon (Lonnie) Godwin, former city council member and local developer, may have shot himself after shooting his elderly mother, Joye Godwin, 80, and brother Ricky Godwin, 52.
Police responded to a call Friday at 9:30 p.m. requesting they do a wellness check at Joye’s residence at 58 South 204 East Avenue. At that time Joye and her son, Ricky, were found dead of apparent gunshot wounds.
According to Catoosa police, Ricky lived next door to his mother.
Lon was later found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at his residence at 2738 Woodstone Drive.
The potential murder-suicide has left this tight-knit community stunned.
“Lon was a progressive person,” said Austin Farley, former council member, in a phone interview. “He wanted what was best for his home town. He was a contributor to many causes, a great man. This is totally out of character.”
Farley, who is currently residing in Montana on an extended retirement vacation, voiced what many Catoosans must be asking themselves. “I wonder why. I wonder if I could have done anything to help.”
Joye and Ricky were also very active in community affairs according to Farley and others who knew them.
“It’s a terrible tragedy anytime a small community has to go through anything of this nature,” said Rodgers. “We all know one another. It’s just devastating.”
Rodgers confirmed a note was found at the scene but would not disclose whether the note indicated that Lon Godwin’s death was a suicide.
“Once we do determine what, if any, crime we do have, we will release a statement to the media,” said Rodgers.
Catoosa police are conducting the investigation but they have turned over evidence to the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) for processing.
“It’s our investigation,” said Rodgers. “We just asked them (OSBI) to analyze and verify some of the evidence that we’ve collected.”
Rodgers said it had been approximately five years since there had been a murder in Catoosa.
“Our prayers and hearts go out to those family and friends,” said Rodgers.
At Catoosa Flower Shop, calls were coming in as family and friends prepare for a memorial celebration of the lives that were lost.
“The whole family was well-liked,” said Carol Shelton, flower shop employee.
“We’re shocked,” said Christy Gray. “It’s not something we ever thought would happen.”
A public memorial service for the Godwins will be Thursday, 11 a.m., at the Catoosa Activity Center. The memorial service and private family burial will be entrusted to Amis-Kennard Funeral Service in Catoosa.
Both Godwin brothers attended Catoosa High School.
Lon was the owner of Godwin and Associates in Catoosa.
Ricky, who had been disabled as a result of a motorcycle accident, was active in wheelchair athletics and remembered as “willing to help others, especially those with similar disabilities.”
Joye was an active community volunteer and a member of the Historical Society and the Senior Citizens’ Center in Rolling Hills. She was voted Catoosa’s Citizen of the Year in 2003. She was also a charter member of the Rolling Hills Christian Church.