KIMBERLY DURNAN, Staff Writer
Copyright 2006 THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
A veteran Saginaw police officer shot and killed his wife and then himself after an argument at their home, police said.
The bodies of Mike Rodriguez, 52, and his wife, Anna, 50, were found inside their home in the 1100 block of Parkhill Avenue in Saginaw about 7:30 p.m. Monday, after neighbors saw the couple argue in the front yard and heard shots fired in the home a short time later, police said.
Ms. Rodriguez had filed for divorce last week, police said.
Neighbor Amanda Summerhays said the Rodriguez family seemed to be good people, though she had not known them long.
"We just moved in here, and they came in and helped us unload our truck."
Ms. Summerhays said she didn't hear the altercation that preceded Monday night's shooting.
"Their son had pulled up, and he wanted to come inside" after the bodies were discovered, Ms. Summerhays said. Police "had to [restrain] him from going inside to see what had happened. I cried at that point. I had to turn around and walk off."
Officer Rodriguez had worked for the Saginaw police force for 17 years, police said.
Texas had 18 murder-suicides during the first six months of 2005, resulting in 42 deaths, according to a report from the Violence Policy Center. That compares with 264 murder-suicides nationally and 591 deaths during the same period.
The study said some of those reported incidents involved law enforcement officers.
"Experts note that the nature of police work - control over and responsibility for others - along with easy access to firearms probably play a role in their heightened risk for murder-suicide," the report says.
In March, retired Dallas police Officer Kim Hammond, 60, shot and killed his wife, Judy, 55, and then himself after they had moved into a new home in Johnson County.
Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center, said police officers have a high-stress job and a high rate of suicide.
"Their job involves having to protect people and having control over people and making them do what they want them to do," she said. "When they don't have that control anymore, because of a romantic breakup, and they have access to a gun, those are ingredients for a murder-suicide."
Mary Lee Hafley, CEO of SafeHaven of Tarrant County, said a victim of domestic abuse has a difficult time leaving her abuser, especially if that person is in a position of authority.
"It's very difficult for victims who are married to someone involved in law enforcement to reach out for help, because they feel like they can't contact their local police department," she said.
The Saginaw incident could be the second murder-suicide this year in Tarrant County, Ms. Hafley said.
She said it is up to co-workers, friends, neighbors and family members to look for signs of domestic violence and report it.
Signs include isolation, not being able to go out with friends, not being able to see family and not being allowed access to money, even if the person earns it.
"Regardless of what your profession is or where you live or how much money you make, we've got to as a community demonstrate some intolerance of domestic violence," Ms. Hafley said. "Somebody somewhere knew about this, a relative, a neighbor, a friend or a police officer - somebody."
Cynthia Vega of WFAA-TV contributed to this report.
May 10, 2006
Texas officer, wife found dead in murder-suicide