By Sean Murphy - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Sep 7, 2007 12:30:30 EDT
NORMAN, Okla. — A blind Vietnam veteran disarmed and severely beat a man who had just gunned down the former Marine’s wife, mother and sister-in-law.
Police said Wednesday that the shootings in an upscale home near the University of Oklahoma on Tuesday were triggered by a domestic dispute.
After the gunman fired shotgun blasts that killed the three women, Joseph Brent Link injured him so badly in the face and the head that police have not been able to interview him.
Officers initially thought the wounds were life-threatening, Norman police Capt. Leonard Judy said.
The injured man, described by police only as Link’s 50-year-old brother-in-law, remained hospitalized in critical condition.
Killed by single shotgun blasts to their torsos were Link’s wife, Tami, 52; his sister-in-law, Sheila Ellis, 56, and his mother, Letannah Bishop, 87, who lived with Link, 54.
A 12-gauge shotgun police believe was used in the killings was recovered at the home. The weapon was already in the house at the time the domestic dispute began, Judy said.
“It appears there was some sort of family dispute that was in progress, and that in fact escalated into these homicides,” Judy said.
Police received an emergency call from the residence about 3:51 p.m. Tuesday from a man who requested an ambulance and said a shooting had occurred.
Investigators found the women in two separate rooms, and the injured man was on the porch.
Neighbors said the couple’s son, Stephen Link, ran a landscaping business out of the house.
“They’ve only lived there for a couple of years,” said neighbor Bob Moring, who lives across the street. “It’s a horrible tragedy. They were very pleasant, very sweet people.”
Moring said Joseph Brent Link was a Navy and Marine Corps veteran. Navy and Marine Corps flags were among six flags that hung from flagpoles outside of the house.
He is also a volunteer with the Oklahoma League for the Blind, according to the organization’s Web site.
Following his military career, Joseph Link opened his own business developing adaptive technology for the blind and vision impaired, the Web site says. He also works with blind veterans groups and to educate people about blindness and find opportunities for the blind.
The shootings rattled neighborhood residents.
“If this wasn’t happening right now, this street would be full of kids, children in strollers and people walking their dogs,” said neighbor Charles Keeling.