MERIDIAN — A 69-year-old woman was shot and killed in a Meridian house Monday morning in what police are investigating as a murder-suicide.
A 71-year-old man shot the woman and then himself with a .45 caliber handgun, Meridian Police said in a release. The man died at the scene, police said, and the victim was taken to a hospital, where she died later in the day.
Meridian Police responded to the shooting about 10:15 a.m. in east Meridian.
According to a family member who was present, the woman moved out of the house she shared with the man about two weeks ago, the release said. The woman and the family member came to the house to retrieve some belongings. The man pulled the woman into a room, and an argument ensued. The family member then heard several gun shots and fled the scene calling police, the release said.
The victim underwent surgery for life-threatening injuries before she died, according to police.
The recent case adds to a growing number of domestic violence deaths in Idaho this year. From Jan. 1 to Nov. 12, 16 people in Idaho died due to domestic violence, including murder-suicide incidents, according to Kelly Miller, executive director of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. That compares to 17 deaths in all of 2017 and 10 deaths in 2016.
In the Treasure Valley alone, there have at least four cases this year involving murder-suicides, including the one reported by Meridian Police Monday.
In September, Nampa Police responded to the murder-suicide of Philip and Kaylynn Butler, who were found dead by a family member after not hearing from the couple for a few days.
In July, Daniel “Sky” Cobb, 46, shot and killed his girlfriend, Crystal Wilson, 36, before he shot himself in Meridian, according to police. Both died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Ada County Coroner’s Office. The suspected murder-suicide happened in the 2200 block of Horse Creek Road in Meridian.
At the end of May, a Canyon County Sheriff’s Office investigation indicated that Ian S. Stone, 37, shot Jaclyn D. Zabel, 29, and then turned the gun on himself, according to a press release from Canyon County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Marv Dashiell.
Three people died in southeast Idaho after domestic disputes in July, according to police. Two of them were a couple — Paul Mueller, 65, who police believe killed his girlfriend, Lora Skeahan, 48, before killing himself in Kimberly. A Bingham County man, Eugene Ruff, 63, shot and killed his wife, police believe. He has been charged with first-degree murder.
In March, Kymberlee Larsen, a 22-year-old mother, was killed in a domestic violence stabbing in Nampa. According to the sheriff’s office, Evan C. Bashir, 29, broke into a Nampa house and stabbed Larsen and Larsen’s sister and mother. Her sister, Chelsea Larsen, 27, and her mother, Julianna Flowers, 57, recovered from their injuries.
Bashir was shot and killed by one of two responding Nampa Police officers.
“I don’t think you or I or anyone can stop a murder-suicide. What we can do is educate and provide resources,” said Meridian Police Chief Jeff Lavey.
Lavey said anyone who finds themselves in an abusive situation should reach out and seek help. Victims can reach out to the Women’s and Children’s Alliance, or Advocates Against Family Violence, said Miller with the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
“What we can do as a community is not accept it and not hide behind it,” Lavey said. “We need to talk about it because it is prevalent in our state. But we’re not unique, it is across the United States and elsewhere.”
Miller said if someone sees a neighbor, friend or co-worker in a relationship that might be unsafe, they should reach out.
“Let people know you are there and you are willing to provide support,” Miller said. “We never want anyone going through this alone.”
Correction: This story was edited to show that the woman who was shot was 69, not 64.