Dispute over cigarette lighter goes wrong: Florida man arrested and charged for assaulting two men in Paducah, Kentucky

PADUCAH, Ky. — Authorities say a man from Florida killed a hotel clerk in western Kentucky after beating up two people outside the building who wouldn’t give him a cigarette lighter.

The McCracken County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that Robert Pannell, 55, was charged with murder, assault, and other crimes at a Best Western hotel in Paducah. Saturday morning, several people called the police to say that a man was actively shooting in the hotel, which is near Interstate 24. The police then went to the business.

McCracken County Sheriff’s deputies and Paducah Police Department officers were the first to arrive. A deputy found the woman on the first floor with multiple gunshot wounds to her head and body, according to officials. A Paducah police officer found a person who might be a suspect outside the hotel and held him in the parking lot.

Pannell, who was staying at the hotel, attacked a couple in the parking lot because he wasn’t given a cigarette lighter. He then went inside with a gun, shot the victim, and threw the gun into the lobby, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. When the shots were fired, there were many people nearby. The victim’s family asked that her name not be made public, the statement said.

Authorities haven’t found out why the shooting happened yet, but the investigation is still going on.

The McCracken County Sheriff’s Office said Pannell is from Palm Coast, Florida, and detectives were working with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to find out why Pannell was in Kentucky.

The McCracken County Jail is holding Pannell. Online records don’t say if he has a lawyer or not.

Jordan Collins

Jordan is an experienced editor with years in the journalism and reporting industry. He loves talking with the community about the problems local residents face and state politics. You can find him in the gym almost every day or see him jogging.

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