An Oregon man is accused of decapitating his mother on Sunday, then carrying her severed head and a knife with him into a rural grocery store

By Jeff Truesdell
May 16, 2017 01:29 PM

An Oregon man is accused of decapitating his mother on Sunday and carrying her severed head and a knife with him into a rural grocery store where — covered in blood — he allegedly stabbed a clerk who then detained him with the aid of other store workers, PEOPLE confirms.

The Clackamas County, Oregon, Sheriff’s Office identified the suspect as 36-year-old Joshua Lee Webb, of Colton, Oregon, and said the victim in the Mother’s Day slaying was his mother, 59-year-old Tina Webb.

“My wife was wonderful,” Tina’s husband, David Webb, told The Oregonian. “I’ve been married to her for almost 41 years. Joshua was our son. I never saw a problem. Evidently there was one. I don’t know. I start crying every time I think about it.”

The clerk who was attacked is a 66-year-old man who is recovering at a local hospital, according to a news release from police in Sandy, Oregon, which was obtained by PEOPLE.

As a store employee and authorities later detailed, Joshua allegedly attacked the clerk after telling him, “You better run,” and then stabbing him seven times.

Still, the injured clerk was able to chase and tackle Joshua before other employees joined in, disarming him and then binding his hands and feet until police reached the scene.

“He [Joshua] didn’t say anything after he was subdued,” said interim Sandy Police Chief Ernie Roberts, according to the Associated Press. “He was in like a catatonic state, wasn’t speaking to anybody.”

Joshua Webb
| Credit: Clackamas County Sheriff

The injured clerk’s wife wrote on Facebook that her husband is “a tough cookie” and thanked his “work family” who intervened to save him.

“This is such a crazy random thing that has happened and I am truly at a loss why someone would do what this person did,” she wrote. “Hug your loved one a little tighter tonight.”

Customers who were inside the grocery store during the attack, to which officers responded to a 911 call at 2:14 p.m., ran to the drive-in diner next door, police said.

“It was traumatic, but it happened so fast that nobody really saw what was going on,” said Marvin Flora, the diner’s owner, the AP reports. “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.”

According to investigators, Joshua lived in a barn on the same property as his parents at the Colton address where his mother was killed. His father was not home at the time.

Neighbors said one of Joshua’s sisters, who was visiting for the Mother’s Day holiday, found their mother’s headless body on the floor, along with her brother’s dead dog on the kitchen counter, The Oregonian reports. She dialed 911 at 2:35 p.m.

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Authorities have not released a motive. Joshua was booked into the Clackamas County Jail on allegations of murder and attempted murder, but he has not yet appeared in court or been appointed an attorney.

In an interview with the AP, David Webb said his son had vision problems and collected Social Security, and he lived on the property so his parents could care for him. Joshua recently had requested and been given the dog by them.

Court records reviewed by The Oregonian show Joshua has no history of violent crime in Oregon.

He “loved his mother very much,” Curtis Strandy, who described himself as Joshua’s best friend, told The Oregonian. He added that Joshua wasn’t violent or argumentative, but “the nicest guy” he’s met.

“I never foresaw a problem. If I had I would have stopped it,” Joshua’s father told the AP before breaking down in sobs. “I just can’t believe I lost my wife and my son in one day. … 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.”