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Donnie Pettway kills Candace Brogden; turns gun on self

An apparent homicide/suicide left two families grieving for their loved ones Thursday in south Butler County.

According to Butler County Sheriff Diane Harris, Donnie Pettway, 20, shot and killed his teenage girlfriend, 17, and then turned the gun on himself.

As news spread, people quickly learned the teenager was Candace Pearl Brogden, a senior at Georgiana High School.

&uot;Once he saw what he did to her, he realized he had killed the one he loved and apparently couldn’t live without her, so he shot himself,&uot; Harris told reporters.

From what people around town said, the two had been a couple for a several years.

Harris said both were dead when authorities arrived on the scene and the preliminary investigation left authorities believing both were shot in their heads.

&uot;Chief Clint Reaves with the McKenzie Police Department called us to aid in an investigation when he arrived and found the two dead,&uot; Harris said. &uot;When we arrived it became apparent from witnesses that he shot her and then himself.&uot;

She did not release the caliber of the weapon used, but a handgun was found at the scene.

&uot;The bodies have been taken to a local funeral home and we are waiting for the Department of Forensic Science to come get them,&uot; Harris told reporters outside her office Thursday at noon.

Harris would not go into details of how the bodies were found, but did say Pettway had a prior record for domestic violence.

&uot;This is an extremely sad situation we have this morning and we hope to clear it up as quickly as possible,&uot; Harris said.

She said Pettway had been arrested in the past on domestic violence charges for his treatment of Brogden.

The Town of McKenzie, with a population of approximately 550, reacted with shock at the news.

Things like this don’t happen here was a recurring comment.

&uot;It is a terrible thing to happen in our community,&uot; said Glenn King, owner of the McKenzie Mall.

&uot;I feel for the families and I know that a lot of people are concerned about it.&uot;

Allen Lucas, another McKenzie businessman expressed his feelings as well.

&uot;I didn’t know the people but I feel for the families of everyone involved, &uot; said Lucas. &uot;You never think something like this will happen here.&uot;

One citizen, who asked to be identified only as a concerned citizen expressed an insecure feeling over the event.

&uot;I am very frightened by this,&uot; said the citizen. &uot;It scares me very deeply to know that something like this can happen in our community.&uot;

Up the road from McKenzie, the GHS faculty and students felt shock over the events that claimed the life of one of their seniors.

GHS Principal Roland Pettie would not comment on the situation and said all media was being referred to Superintendent Mike Reed, who refused to comment on Brogden.

&uot;It is our policy that we do not discuss our students in situations like this,&uot; Reed said.

&uot;However, our deepest sympathy goes out to the family.&uot;

Reed said the system’s first concern is the students at GHS.

&uot;We have sent extra counselors to Georgiana today to help deal with this,&uot; Reed said.

&uot;This is our usual procedure in a situation like this.

It is in our crisis intervention plan.&uot;

Sheriff Harris said the investigation will continue and more details will be released at a later time.

Brogden would have turned 18 next month.

Jay Thomas contributed to this story.