Two people are dead after a murder suicide at a Rockford shopping center Thursday morning. A bitter divorce took a deadly turn as a husband shots his estranged wife and than turns a shotgun on himself.
The crime scene tape is down but the images are still clear for workers and shoppers here. They got a rude awakening around 7:30 Thursday morning when a domestic dispute in this parking lot took a deadly turn.
Witnesses say 54-year-old Marsha Heffron was on her way to work at Countrywide Loans, when her estranged husband Raymond confronted her. As the argument continued, the couple ended up at the rear of the building. This is where he pulled out a shotgun and fired several rounds into Marsha. She dies instantly. Then he turned the gun on himself.
"My wife called me hysterical because she got here just as everything was going down," says Ruben Lao, a friend.
Stunned coworkers and friends gathered at the scene. They say the couple was going through a bitter divorce. Marsha had gotten a restraining order against her husband but they prayed it wouldn't end like this.
"I tried not to be a vigilante and go out and take care of things on my own, to try and give law enforcement a chance to do the things they're suppose to do. But they just blew it off," Ruben adds.
Police say they take domestic violence issues very seriously but they can't always stop something like this from happening.
"The police can't be with victims 24 hours a day. Humans are the most unpredictable beings and when they want to do something like this, you can't stop them unless you're there,” says Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro.
Marsha's coworkers say her estranged husband gave a handgun to one of her grandchildren as a birthday gift just this past weekend, which made her suspicious of something like this.