Pierce County couple dead in apparent murder-suicide

NEAR GRAHAM, Wash. -- Pierce County sheriff's detectives believe a woman shot dead her live-in boyfriend while he was sleeping in their home near Graham Tuesday and then drove their truck to a church in Tacoma, where she shot and killed herself.

A family member made the initial, gruesome discovery just before 3 p.m. Tuesday in the home in the Eastwood Park neighborhood near Graham.

The man was dead in his bed, with a gunshot wound to the head.

"I'm just like devastated. I never thought it would happen in this neighborhood,” neighbor Brenda Harris said.

Investigators say the victim worked at night and slept during the day so there was nothing suspicious when relatives believed he was in bed sleeping.

When he didn't get up, they went into the room and found him dead and immediately called police.

They began looking for the live-in girlfriend as a person of interest although investigators say the couple had apparently been having problem for some time.

They found her in the victim's truck in the parking lot of the Champions Center in Tacoma.

"We discovered that she had given away her bank cards and done some other suspicious activity. We really wanted to talk to her. We put the information out and an alert officer in Tacoma found her truck. When they approached the truck, they found her deceased as well,” Pierce County Sheriff’s detective Ed Troyer said.

She died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

It's an apparent murder/suicide that neighbors say is a family tragedy and a community tragedy, too.

"It's never happened before and we're going to rally together as a community and be supportive of our neighbors and whatever they need; we're going to be there 100%,” neighbor Tanya Bartlett said.

Police say the woman still had a gun in her hand. They will, of course, have to do ballistic testing to see if it is the murder weapon.

We`re told more than a dozen family members share the home and it`s in a very close-knit community. Most of whom are mourning the loss of two people.