A shooter remains free and a family waits for justice.
A fight in a Prineville apartment complex last month ended in the death of 27-year-old Kade Nichol, who was shot and killed after a fight with the former friend. The man who shot him has yet to be charged with any crimes.
Nichol left behind a wife and three children, as well as a family who’s waited weeks, holding on to hope that something will change.
“He was my best friend. We did everything together,” said older sister Lani Nichol. “He was a very loving brother, and kind of wanted to be the man of the house and protect all of us.”
Mom Jenifer Jocelyn said she still calls his voicemail just to hear his voice.
“I loved it when he would call me mom, or momma,” she said. “Maybe in a really good mood he would say, ‘hi mommy!’. I loved those phone calls the best.”
It’s hard for them to describe what they felt the moment they learned of Nichol’s death on January 8.
They say they read the news on the Prineville Police Facebook page.
“I was the first one to know,” Lani said. “I went to go find my brother, and when they told me, I completely fell to the ground and felt very destroyed and wishing I could do anything to make it not true.”
Kade was a father of three children, ages 9, 4, and 1, building a life with his wife of five years. Kalene met Kade while working at a welding shop in Colorado. She describes him as a “very good dad.”
“Good provider for his children,” she said. “He could’ve taught them a lot of things.”
On January 8, the family says he was invited over to the apartment of his former best friend.
“They knew each other very well, our whole family took him in as family,” Lani said. “He was at family barbecues, his birthdays, all of us took him in.”
He and Kade had a falling out several months before the fight. The Nichol family believes he texted Kade that day, inviting him over to make amends before the funeral of a mutual friend.
Then, an argument, a gunshot and Kade’s death ensued. A month later, the shooter is still free, with no charges filed against him.
Central Oregon Daily News is not naming the shooter or referring to him as a suspect due to the fact that he has not been arrested or charged.
The Nichol family stays in contact with police, their frustration growing every day.
“It doesn’t make any sense to us with what information we’ve been able to find and get, why he hasn’t been arrested, why he’s not in jail right now for taking a life,” Jocelyn said.
Crook County District Attorney Kari Hathorn sent the statement below to Central Oregon Daily News on Monday:
“We recognize the impact the pending investigation has on all the parities involved and are committed to concluding the investigation and submitting the case to a grand jury as soon as possible. But it’s also important to fully investigate all of the underlying events that contributed to the incident.”
The Nichol family said they had heard from a victim’s association that the grand jury would commence on February 24, but Hathorn has yet to confirm this information.
Until then, the Nichol family waits together, clinging to the memories of the man they lost.
“He had an amazing laugh and the biggest smile, his smile could light up the room. He had this big personality,” Lani said.
They sit with questions still unanswered.
“I can’t sleep,” Kalene said. “It’s kind of strange not having him around, and it’s unsettling. Sometimes I think I see him, and then it’s not him.”
“We are being forced to depend on them to do their job and, do it right and do it well,” Jocelyn said. “Just gets harder. He’s not perfect, lord knows he’s not perfect…he was also very loving. He was my son. It’s my son that got taken away.”
The Nichol family also told Central Oregon Daily News that the shooter has a criminal background, which we have confirmed.