Father, son deaths at Salem Lake ruled murder-suicide

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Investigators have ruled the the death of a father and son at Salem Lake Park on Wednesday a murder-suicide, according to police.

Police determined the father and son met at Salem Lake. At some point Charles Timothy Nichols, Jr., 29, shot Charles Timothy Nichols, 58, prior to shooting himself.

Nichols, Jr.'s mother, Janet Nichols, spoke to FOX8 Thursday, saying, "Charlie was defending me when it all happened. A couple of days before, my husband hurt me and my son found out and was upset. Charlie always stood up for me."

Friends of Nichols, Jr. are defending his mother's statement.

“He loved his family he loved his mom," said Scotty Newsom, Charles Nichols, Jr.’s friend. "It was just inconceivable that he would do something just for spite to hurt somebody."

The ongoing investigation into this case revealed that there had been incidents of domestic violence within the family.

The Medical Examiner’s office confirmed that Charles Timothy Nichols died after being shot multiple times and Charles Timothy Nichols, Jr. died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police responded to 1001 Salem Lake Road around 11:24 a.m. Wednesday in reference to the shooting.

Upon arrival, officers found the two men deceased in a gravel parking lot about 400 yards from the entrance to Salem Lake.

It remains unclear if there were any witnesses to the shooting. Assistant Police Chief Connie Southern said they do not believe anyone else was in danger when the shooting occurred.

According to Southern, other weapons were found at the scene but did not provide any additional information about the weapons.

The lake is a popular spot for bikers and runners.

"We were going to do a loop," said Carly Kreber, whose Wednesday evening run got cut short. "[Police] stopped us on the other side."

"I'm still going to probably keep coming out here," said runner Robert Yountz. "I'm a runner so I'm always going to have to come out here and get the fitness in."

“Two Winston-Salem Police Officers are assigned as Park Rangers and visit Salem Lake Park every day as part of their regular duties," said Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Director, Timothy Grant. "They patrol Salem Lake, but they also visit many other parks on their daily rounds. We recognize this is a tragic event, but it is not the norm. We strive to ensure that Salem Lake Park, and all of our parks, offer a safe recreational environment for our citizens.”

No other information is available at this time.


  • Max R. Pardon

    Does not take a “llama farmer with’out a degree” to know that shot dead people is not what the county needs

  • The One

    I thought they had Police on bicycles with Police Helmet Black Hard Plastic with Flashing Blue Flashing Light with Elasticated Neck Band
    that wright tickets for fishing off bank.

  • Pat Jones

    You’re wrong. Nobody deserves to die; no matter what they have done. In this case; it looks like a father and son. So sorry to hear about this. Family has two of their family to grieve for. Please pray for this family. They are going to need all the prayers they can get.

  • LM

    Almost sounds like a homicide/suicide maybe? Who knows…it’s just very sad. I feel like W-S is going downhill, just like G-boro. now, in terms of safety! :(

  • Joker1369

    @Pat Jones..some people do deserve to die. Murderers, rapists, child abusers…those animals need to be exterminated.

  • Artist Monica Faith

    It’s possible that the emotional toll of the domestic violence and the fact that his mother continued to stay was more than the son could tolerate … but if he knew the only way he could end it would be to kill his father, and the only way he could stomach having to do that was to then kill himself … then his mother shoulders some of the responsibility for that end result for staying in the abuse

  • Diane

    I ask that you would respect the family. Details are not needed. Don’t judge unless you are in the families shoes. This family is going through enough already and seeing this don’t make matters better. Thank you in advance.

    A relative

  • Sue

    My mother was a victim of domestic violence. She did something about it and showed us that we are worth so much more than that. It’s sad in this case that the son felt he needed to stand up for the mother and he wound up being the biggest loser. I wouldn’t want to live with the knowledge that I was too (weak, ashamed, whatever) to stand up for myself and it cost my son his life. Sad, sad, sad.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.