Police find gunshot victim, 19, then realize he had just executed a woman inside her vehicle

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – What was initially thought to be a double homicide is now being investigated as a murder-suicide by St. Louis County Police. 

Investigators say that the incident occurred in the area of Spanish Lake at approximately 7:20 p.m. on January 8th within the 1100 block of Lilac Avenue. 

When officers responded to the scene, they discovered the body of 51-year-old Denise Edwards who was found to have suffered several gunshot wounds while inside of a vehicle. Authorities say the victim was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Police also discovered the body of 19-year-old Brian Thurman lying in the street, having also suffered a gunshot wound. He was immediately transferred to a nearby hospital, but was pronounced deceased after arriving. 

While investigators were first working the case, they’d believed that the incident was a double homicide. However, after further investigating, police now believe that this was a murder-suicide that was enacted by Thurman. 

Evidence obtained during the investigation revealed that both Thurman and Edwards were familiar with each other – but officials have not revealed the nature of their relationship or familiarity. 

Officials believe that both Edwards and Thurman were inside of the same vehicle where the deceased female was later discovered by police – with Thurman shooting Edwards while she was driving, and then him jumping out of the vehicle while it was still moving. 

With the vehicle still being in motion along with Edwards sitting in the driver’s seat, the car veered off the road and wound up crashing into a tree. It’s at that point that investigators believe that Thurman turned the gun on himself and took his own life. 

Police officials have yet to offer a possible motive in this case. 

This is an ongoing investigation. 

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we gather further insight into this case. 

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Back in December, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on what police suspected to be a murder suicide that involved a police detective killed by his wife. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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WALDORF, MD – A Metropolitan Police Department detective was shot and killed on November 27th 2020 by his wife, who then turned the gun on herself, according to law enforcement officials.

Timothy E. Francis, 50, had been a D.C. police officer for 20 years and was most recently a detective in the homicide squad that investigates presumed natural deaths, according to D.C. police.

According to the Charles County sheriff’s office, Francis and his wife, Christina Lynn Francis, 41 were found in their Waldorf, Maryland home at approximately 6 p.m.

MPD Chief Peter Newsham said in a statement:

“Mourning the tragic loss of our colleague and friend is extremely difficult. Detective Francis spent two decades protecting the community from violence, and to learn that he was the victim of a homicide is heartbreaking.”

The police union expressed its sympathies, saying:

“Tim was a standup guy that always held his ground. We are all still reeling from this news. The MPD has lost a true detective today and he will not soon be replaced.”

The couple were found by Christina’s father, who became worried for his daughter after being unable to reach her all day.

Evidence recovered from the scene indicated Christina had fatally shot her husband before killing herself.

The shooting took place about 12 hours after Christina Francis posted a video of the couple’s April 2017 wedding in Santa Monica, California, along with statements that seemed to indicate trouble with the marriage.

One post, which was shared at 3:19 a.m., included a video from the couple’s wedding day. Along with the video, Christina wrote:

“This day meant everything to me. This marriage wasn’t put together for a great reason. couldn’t be more confident and stayed forever not giving up. I love you and what we had together. U you all I even want NEEDED (sic).

YOU AND I BELONGED TOGETHER AND ALWAYS. We had six years of experience and memories that should have taken presence (sic) over everything in everything we did but be got lost in petty s— you believed was a mistake. AMD tests immature.(sic)”

Neighbors Delancey Praylow and Demetrius Wilson told WUSA that the neighborhood was a friendly one and that they had hung out with Tim and Christina Francis at a get-together a few weeks ago in another neighbor’s yard.

“Good folks,” Praylow said. “She just shared a piece of cake with me at the gathering, and she was real nice.”

Wilson described Tim Francis as a family man who loved life and loved his children. “You never know what people go through,” Wilson told the station.

Although the facts and motivation surrounding this case are still unclear, the problem of violence within police families has been increasingly recognized as an important socio-legal issue. There is, however, a lack of empirical data on what has commonly been referred to as officer-involved domestic violence (OIDV).

There are no comprehensive statistics available on OIDV and no government entity collects data on the criminal convictions of police officers for crimes associated with domestic and/or family violence.

Prior self-reported officer surveys have been limited by the tendency to conceal instances of family violence and the interests of officers to maintain a “code of silence” to protect their careers.

The nature of police work includes toxic work environments and uncertain dangers which impart a unique type of occupational stress spillover or the transfer of stress from work life to home life for law enforcement officers. Work stress places officers at risk for negative health and psychosocial outcomes.

While it has been shown that occupational stress can compromise the well-being of police officers, little is known about how spillovers can affect other areas of life for officers, such as marital relationships.

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