GLADE SPRING The man who shot and killed his wife, son and mother-in-law was already facing domestic abuse charges. His family, seeking help to escape an abusive situation, had filed the criminal complaints against him days earlier.

Just after 5 a.m. Tuesday, Kevin Palmer, 44, parked his truck at a Virginia Tech research farm on VPI Farm Road and walked nearly 2 miles to find his family at his in-laws’ home.

He carried a rifle and handgun.

“Last Wednesday, when this (abuse case) came to light, everyone that we knew who could have possibly assisted them was involved,” said Sharon Reed, director of the Washington County Victim Assistance Program, just hours after Kristin Palmer, 46, and Griffin Lane Palmer, 17, were killed along with Kristin’s mother, Nancy Griffin, 74.

Mother and son had signed the criminal complaints last Wednesday. Palmer was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of assault and battery. He was released the same day, after posting a $2,500 secured bond, Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Price said.

Before the sun rose Tuesday, Palmer forced his way into the brown one-story house owned by his wife’s parents.

Then, Washington County Sheriff’s Detective S.G. Reed said, a confrontation took place.

At 5:44 a.m., a deputy entered the home to find that five people had been shot, two of them fatally, including Kevin Palmer, who had shot himself.

Investigators said that moments after the deputy’s arrival, Griffin Palmer, his mother and her 75-year-old father were airlifted to Bristol Regional Medical Center. Griffin Palmer died on the helicopter. His mother died at the hospital, police said.

Kristin’s father, Terry Griffin, was listed in fair condition at the hospital, investigators said.The sequence of events was outlined by investigators during a Tuesday afternoon news conference at the sheriff’s office in Abingdon.

Both Kristin and Griffin Palmer accused Kevin Palmer of constant verbal and mental abuse in the complaints filed six days before the shootings.

And last Wednesday, they both received temporary protective orders against Kevin Palmer.

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