MEADE CO., Ky. (WHAS11) -- Katrina Dougherty says it was almost impossible not to be drawn to Tucker Wimpee's sweet personality.
“If he said a word, he would make you laugh,” she remembers.
She says they met at Stuart Pepper Middle School a little over a year ago.
“We were two goofy people and just hit it off instantly,” the 12-year-old said.
But the seventh graders had only been boyfriend and girlfriend for about a month and a half. Everyone from friends to neighbors say he was a well mannered and good-natured kid the kind, Katrina’s father James Dougherty says, he was happy to have spend time with his daughter.
“He was extremely polite, 'he’d say nice to meet you Mr. Doughtery' and shake my hand,” remembers James Dougherty.
According to Katrina it wasn't unusual for Tucker to be absent from school, so she didn't think twice when the 13-year-old wasn't in class Friday morning, Nov. 15. But then a school counselor called her along with a group of Tucker's other close friends into the library telling them there had been an accident.
“She said Tucker was involved, I thought OK that makes sense. She said he did not survive”, recalls Katrina sadly.
Katrina’s devastation quickly spread across campus when school counselors announced Tucker's passing.
The counselor didn't elaborate on the details, but Katrina would soon learn Tucker and his mother Ellen Cain had been shot to death by his mother's live-in boyfriend, Warren Earl Tripp, who then turned the gun on himself.
Investigators haven’t said how the scene played out, but Katrina’s father says what he knew about Tucker gives him an idea.
“I just get the feeling he was just trying to protect his mother. He seems like that kind of guy who would help out anybody,” speculates James Dougherty.
Though a neighbor of Cain’s says Cain and Tripp's domestic disputes were often loud enough to be heard across the street, but Katrina says Tucker didn't speak much to her about his mother or his mother’s boyfriend. She never got the impression he didn't feel safe in their home. Tucker did however talk about his dad, Meade County Sheriff's Deputy Phillip Wimpee who she says he admired.
“He said he wanted to be a cop when he grew up."