The streets of Eatonville swelled with police, residents and the media Thursday after an apparent homicide-suicide shook the normally quiet Mount Rainier foothills town.
Police said a man shot and killed his wife before driving to a friend’s home and fatally shooting himself. Friends of the man called police after hearing a gunshot outside their house in the 100 block of Rainier Avenue North. The 40-year-old man was found dead in a pickup truck parked out front. Police recovered a handgun from the truck.
Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said it appeared the man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“Nobody saw it, but some heard it,” he said.
Police went to the man’s residence in the 100 block of Madison Avenue South and found the man’s 37-year-old wife, who had been fatally shot.
“By the looks of what’s inside there, it is pretty evident that she was shot and that our subject is responsible for it,” Troyer said. “We believe it all happened concurrently in a short time frame.”
The Medical Examiner’s office did not release the names of the couple, pending notification of both families.
Police were still investigating a possible motive. The couple have two children, a 16-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter, who were consoled by school counselors and chaplains after the incidents while police contacted relatives.
Troyer said the couple’s house was packed with more than two dozen weapons, and family members told police the man had shown paranoid behavior the past several days, including locking himself in dark rooms.
“We are looking at his mental state leading up to this,” Troyer said.
Nearby homeowners and employees at local businesses poured into the streets near both crime scenes Thursday. They agreed on one thing: This type of violence rarely happens in the community of about 2,800 people.
Family and friends gathered outside the couple’s home, comforting each other and talking with police chaplains.
Troyer said a top priority was comforting the couple’s children and helping them through a very public tragedy in such a small town.
“Everybody knows everybody,” he said of Eatonville. “It’s going to be a long road ahead.”
Kari Plog: 253-597-8682
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