A man killed his mother on Mother’s Day and then carried her head under his arm as he stabbed a clerk at an Oregon grocery store with a kitchen knife later that afternoon. Around the same time as the stabbing, police investigated the body of the suspect’s mother, which was found lifeless at her home.
Joshua Lee Webb, a 36-year-old resident of Colton, Ore., was arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder and booked into Clackamas County Jail Monday afternoon, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office reported. Here is Webb’s booking photo, which looks extremely creepy.
Suspect Joshua Lee Webb booked on Murder charge for Homicide in Colton on Elwood Rd and Attempted Murder for incident in Estacada pic.twitter.com/AWFXCv2DI0
— Clackamas Sheriff (@ClackCoSheriff) May 15, 2017
Sandy Police Department officers said the head Webb carried was that of his mother, 59-year-old Tina Marie Webb, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Webb allegedly stabbed 66-year-old Michael Wagner, a white-haired checkout clerk at the Harvest Market Thriftway in the tiny Oregon town of Estacada, 30 miles south of Portland.
The gruesome tale began on Mother’s Day, when Webb allegedly killed his mother in the historic logging town of Colton, 40 miles southeast of Portland. Covered in blood, the suspect then entered the Thriftway carrying a human head, and approached Wagner with a large “kitchen-type” knife, the AP reported.
The suspect then began stabbing the clerk, but was quickly overwhelmed by other employees who held him until police arrived.
“He didn’t say anything after he was subdued,” Ernie Roberts, interim police chief in the nearby town of Sandy, told the AP. (Sandy provides police services for Estacada, which has a mere 2,600 residents.) “He was in like a catatonic state, wasn’t speaking to anybody.” Webb only said that he was thirsty, Roberts recalled.
David Webb, father of Joshua Lee and husband to the victim Tina Marie, poured out his heartbreak to the AP amid sobs. The father explained that the suspect had vision problems and received Social Security payments despite his young age. He lived at home so his parents could care for him, and his parents had recently bought him a dog.
While the mother said she believed Joshua Lee was depressed, the father said he never saw any indication of it. “I never foresaw a problem. If I had I would have stopped it,” Webb told the AP. “I just can’t believe I lost my wife and son in one day.”
Breaking down, the father added, “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.”
Wagner, the grocery store clerk, was hospitalized but is expected to survive. Residents who gathered at the scene told the AP Wagner had worked for years at the store, first at the produce department and then at the checkout counter.
Customers stopped by in a steady stream to drop off balloons as a tribute in front of the store, and to sign a giant get-well poster for the clerk. A small collection of candles grew on the other side of the parking lot.
Witnesses who had been in the grocery store during the attack took refuge inside Lew’s Drive-In, the diner next door, according to the owner, Marvin Flora. But Flora noted that nobody had seen much, though the diner’s customers reportedly spoke of nothing but the stabbing.
“It was traumatic, but it happened so fast that nobody really saw what was going on,” Flora told the AP. “One lady came in this morning and said she actually saw somebody come in with something that was bloody and was carrying something with his arm.”
The diner owner praised Wagner and explained why the clerk was so popular in Estacada. “He’s super nice and outgoing. He’s the epitome of what this place stands for,” he told the AP. “He always has jokes for you in the line, and he goes out of the way to know your name.”