Man who killed woman outside Smyrna Middle School shot and killed himself and another woman, police say
Police say the man who shot and killed his wife Tuesday in the parking lot of Smyrna Middle School shot and killed another woman at a separate location and then shot himself after a car chase with police.
After crashing his car near Galena, Maryland, the man was airlifted to a Maryland hospital where he died, Delaware State Police said Wednesday in a press release.
Neighbors said the three all had lived in the same neighborhood and that the woman killed at the school had previously said she believed her husband would kill both her and himself.
Details shared by police Wednesday provided a more clear picture of the events that placed Smyrna schools under lockdown for most of Tuesday and shook the small town north of the state capital.
PREVIOUS REPORTING: Woman killed outside Smyrna Middle School
Around 10:25 a.m., a 38-year-old Smyrna woman and her 47-year-old Smyrna husband arrived at Smyrna Middle School together in the woman's vehicle to pick up their daughter for a medical appointment.
The couple had a verbal argument outside of the vehicle in the school's front parking lot, police said. The man then pulled the woman inside the vehicle and shot her, police said.
The man fled in the vehicle after the shooting. A school resource officer immediately began performing first aid on the woman, though was unable to save her.
After leaving the school, the man switched into a car registered to him parked nearby, police said. Delaware State Police located the man around 11 a.m. and tried to stop him, but he continued to drive away. The chase continued into Maryland, where state police there pursued him until he lost control of his car, hit a tree and ultimately shot himself.
During the course of their investigation, Delaware State Police learned a second woman who was an acquaintance of the 38-year-old woman could have been shot. Shortly before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, police gave notice about "increased police activity" near the 800 block of Monrovia Ave.
There they found a 21-year-old woman with apparent gunshot wounds inside an apartment. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police are investigating Tuesday's events as a double homicide/suicide. It is not clear when they believe the man shot the 21-year-old woman.
Police have not identified any of the people involved. Their bodies have been given to the Division of Forensic Science to determine the manner and cause of their deaths, police said.
The man and his two victims all lived in the same neighborhood in Smyrna, according to records and neighbors. Some neighbors said trouble between the husband and wife, who was killed at the school, was evident.
He had made it known he was having “suicidal thoughts,” one woman said. His wife was fearful enough to have agreed to a safe word so that if she ever texted her “go,” she would know to send help, one woman who lived nearby said.
Another neighbor said that the victim had previously predicted that her husband was going to kill her and himself.
“She was afraid of him,” one woman said. “You could see it in her eyes. She could not stay still. She was shaking."
She said the man was arrested after a domestic incident in February.
“She put him in jail and she bailed him out,” the woman said.
Another said she has tolerated the situation because of her kids. They described the woman as "very helpful" and a "sweetheart that would do anything for you."
The one woman said she was home whenever the second victim was killed in the neighborhood.
“I didn’t hear anything,” she said. “She was in that apartment all day.”
Smyrna School District Superintendent Patrik Williams said Wednesday was a prescheduled deep cleaning throughout the district, so students wouldn't be in school. All students and staff were accounted for Tuesday.
Most of the student body began leaving the school around 1 p.m., but some students were picked up by parents earlier in the day.
Williams said he didn’t know whether any students witnessed the shooting, but the district will be making counseling services available to students and their families.
Church leaders in the Smyrna-Clayton Ministerium are also organizing a candlelight prayer vigil on Thursday at 7 p.m. The vigil will be held at the gazebo at George Wright Jr. Municipal Park on North Main Street in Smyrna.
“This is a chance for the community to come together in prayer,” said the Rev. John Riley, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Smyrna.
Reporter Xerxes Wilson contributed to this story.