Child calls for help in apparent murder-suicide attempt

COLOMA, Mich.-- (Content warning: details are graphic and involve suicide) A woman is alive and recovering in the hospital after police say she was shot, possibly by her own husband. That man did not survive.

Police still haven't confirmed if the man, woman, and children were all a family, but a neighbor and dispatcher audio indicate they were. The whole incident stemmed from an upsetting call for a welfare check Wednesday night. 

Coloma Township Police said a man is dead from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A woman with gunshot wounds was also found at the scene. She was transported to the hospital and is in stable condition. 

Skip Mazzucco knew his next-door neighbor well. 

"He worked at my company for 15 years, he was still working there," he said. "They have three kids, and they'd have friends come over, and they'd be playing out in the yard. It was, you know, family stuff."

ABC57 is not releasing the man's name while police work to notify his loved ones. Mazzucco said his neighbor was at work Wednesday. From all accounts, he seemed like a total family man.

"He was a good employee, he was a wonderful neighbor," Mazzucco said. "He's got three kids, and they would play out in the yard, he was teaching them how to play football, basketball, and he was a business owner."

But after work Wednesday, Coloma Township dispatchers got a chilling 911 call asking for a welfare check on Becht Road.

"We have a juvenile caller on the line... [they are] now at the neighbor's house," a dispatcher told responding officers. "[they] just keep saying 'we need your help,' ... Something with [their] parents. I don't know if they're arguing or what."

Police said while they were on their way, they were told they could be walking into a home where a husband shot his own wife and himself.

When they arrived, they found a man dead from his injuries. The woman is still alive and in stable condition at a local hospital.

The news was a complete shock to Mazzucco.

"It's disappointing," he said. "It's disappointing and it's sad."

He said nothing like this has happened in the 13 years he's lived on Becht Road.

ABC57 spoke to Mat Klemp, the senior director for non-residential services at the YWCA West Central Michigan. 

"Kids exposed to this kind of tragedy can respond in all sorts of different ways," he said, "and it's likely that there would have been other traumatic instances that led up to this."

Signs of domestic violence can be hard to spot, he said, so it's important to create an environment where kids feel safe to open up.

And, the more children learn about healthy relationships, the more they can look for it in their own lives.

"It happens in families behind closed doors too often, but it's a community problem and it impacts everyone in the community," Klemp said. "The more the community is aware of both the problem and the resources that we have, the better we are able to support the families that are struggling with these issues." 

Share this article: