Dr. Rodney Mann and his younger brother, Kevin, talked on the phone Saturday night, mostly about Kevin Mann's daughter.
Nothing in their conversation had anything to do with the doctor's desire for revenge against a Clark County resident named Charles Steppe.
On Sunday, police say, Steppe shot Rodney Mann, 45, in Steppe's driveway after Mann supposedly slashed the tires on Steppe's vehicle. Police said Mann was armed with two guns and a knife.
"We had no idea of anything like this, ever," Kevin Mann said during a family news conference Wednesday afternoon in front of Thoroughbred Allergy and Asthma Center. His late brother was an allergist and medical director of the Richmond Road practice.
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Rodney Mann, 45, was a compassionate, sensitive and shy man who always wanted what was best for his patients, his brother said.
"We just hope that that is what he is remembered for," Kevin Mann said.
Rodney Mann had no criminal record in Lexington. His family and neighbors say he was a private but giving man.
But they also say Mann had begun to change over the past few months, taking an interest in guns and becoming more cynical. He began drinking more heavily than usual and had taken up paintball as a hobby, next-door neighbor John Scott said. Mann would dress in camouflage and practice shooting his paintball gun in the back yard, plastering the fence and his blue Rosie recycling bin with paint, neighbors say.
Mann's Facebook profile includes several photographs of him wearing camouflage and holding a handgun or paintball gun.
State police have said Mann and Steppe had a confrontation at the Sam's Club on New Circle Road in Lexington that ignited the events that led to Mann's death. It's not clear what happened between the two at the store. But Mann reported to police that on the afternoon of June 7, Steppe keyed his 2007 Acura TL and caused more than $1,000 worth of damage, according to a Lexington police report.
"It looked like a racing stripe down the side," Scott said.
Mann and Steppe did not appear to know each other before the run-in at Sam's, state police said.
Lexington police declined to comment on the Sam's Club incident because the investigation is ongoing.
Troopers said that on Sunday, Mann drove his Acura at least 20 miles through Fayette County into a remote area of Clark County that borders the banks of the Kentucky River. He drove along winding, narrow Four Mile Road and parked a quarter of a mile from Steppe's mobile home, police say.
Police gave this account of the shooting:
Just before 11 a.m., Steppe heard the sound of air escaping the tires of his vehicle, which was parked in his gravel driveway.
Steppe went outside and confronted Mann, who allegedly held the knife and a handgun, police said. A second gun was tucked into his waistband.
The two men struggled over the gun, Steppe wrested it away and then Mann came at him with a knife. Steppe fired several rounds. One bullet hit a major artery in Mann's leg, and he bled to death in the driveway.
Steppe called police to tell them that Mann needed help.
"This is a terrible, terrible tragedy, and I am sorry that this happened," Steppe said from the front door of his home Tuesday. He declined to comment further.
State police have not filed charges against Steppe because investigators say he acted in self-defense, said Trooper Chris Lanham of the Kentucky State Police. The case will be presented to a Clark County grand jury.
According to law, a person has the right to use deadly force if that person or a third party is in immediate danger of being seriously injured or killed, Commonwealth's Attorney David Smith said. Smith said his office has not done anything with the case because it is still waiting for state police to wrap up their investigation.
Neighbors of Mann and Steppe said the two men were good people.
"You couldn't ask for a better person," neighbor Tom Lykins said of Steppe. On Tuesday, Lykins had a security system installed in his home, just up the road from Steppe's home.
In Lexington, Mann's neighbors described him much the way Kevin Mann did Wednesday: quiet, soft-spoken, shy. Mann had lived for a few years in the modest, middle-class neighborhood near Ashland Elementary School.
Martha Jane Stone, who has lived in the house across Cramer Avenue from Rodney Mann since he moved in, said they occasionally visited each other and discussed the Lexington Philharmonic. "He was a nice fellow," she said.
Neighbors found it hard to imagine that an incident at a warehouse store could have ended the way it did.
"This was not like the Rodney I knew when he first moved in," said Scott, who has lived next to Mann.
Scott saw Mann and a girlfriend at Vine Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard during Saturday's Fourth of July festivities in downtown Lexington. Mann told Scott that they should get together and talk about author Charles Bukowski, of whom they were both fans.
"I thought he was sitting on top of the world," Scott recalled.
And then came Sunday.
"Unfortunately, Rodney was the type of person who felt revenge was something you had to do," Stone said. "He had a right to stand up for himself, and that's what he did."