Friends of Abigail Drive victim shocked by his murder

Friends of Abigail Drive victim shocked by his murder

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - New details were released on Thursday about the two men shot and killed in an apartment near Bowman Field.

The bodies of Joshua Rice, 30, and David Kandelaki, 31, were found Thursday by St. Matthews Police detectives on Abigail Drive.

Friends of Rice told WAVE 3 News they were shocked, heartbroken and had no idea how the two knew each other. They could not wrap their heads around what happened to Rice, the beloved Texas Roadhouse employee of nine years.

"I am still in shock," said friend Angela Thomas-Hawley. "You hear these things that happen, and there's usually a reason behind them, but I can't even wrap my head around who would do this to him."

Thomas-Hawley said Rice was like a second son to her and good friends with her children.

Josh was a great friend of her late son Shayne  who died in a car accident in September, Thomas-Hawley said. Josh created a donation program to help her family during the funeral.

"He didn't associate with bad people, he didn't do bad things," Thomas-Hawley said.

The Hawley family said the story of his murder, and of another man's who had just moved to Louisville, makes no sense.

"I can't even imagine," Thomas-Hawley said. "I really hope they find out who did this because this [Josh Rice] is one of the last people you would ever expect this to happen to."

Clyde Huffman of Taylorsville and his wife Deborah were longtime customers of Rice. Like many customers at the Texas Roadhouse in Middletown, they always asked for Rice.

"He always seemed like he was in a good mood and he kind of made everyone else feel the same way," Huffman said.

A Texas Roadhouse Spokesman said the store had grief counselors at the restaurant on Friday to help employees. Customers knew Rice well because he had a great personality, loved the restaurant and shook everyone's hand he met, the spokesman said.

David Kandelaki, the other victim, was originally from the country of Georgia, police said. He had been living in a St. Matthews apartment for about a month and intended to bring his family here.

On Wednesday, Kandelaki was supposed to go get them in Miami, Florida.

When he didn't show up in Florida to pick up his family, his wife called St. Matthews Police. Detectives jumped on the case.

"The wife said he was supposed to have d ropped off the family dog and his automobile with some friends in Jeffersontown," Beyer explained.

J-town Police confirmed Kandelaki, who had been working for Lyft and living in Louisville for about a month, had d ropped his car and dog with friends.

Information collected there led police to believe Kandelaki might have gone to see his friend Josh Rice at his apartment complex on Abigail Drive.

That's where detectives found them both shot to death.

"It's an apartment complex in St. Matthews," Beyer said of the apartment in the 500 block of Mallard Creek Road.

The Thursday night discovery of Rice and Kandelaki's bodies began with a welfare check, St. Matthews Assistant Police Chief David Beyer explained. Dispatchers sent officers Thursday morning.

A friend of Kandaleki's said he would never harm anyone.

"David was a kind, smart and caring person," Valentina Dolontaeva said. "He would never harm anyone. David always wanted to be a doctor, and he worked very hard to get there. He was the most wonderful father to 22 month  old twins, husband, son and a friend anyone could ever ask for."

Neighbor Avram Kahn owns a building on the street from the apartment complex where the men were found.

"Police removed a safe an took about half a dozen (officers) to open," Kahn said. "Whatever was in there, they were bagging up and taking as evidence."

Police believe foul play was involved in the deaths.

A page has been set up for Kandelaki's family here.

Because of the location of the murders, LMPD has taken over the investigation. No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information should call 574-LMPD.

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