GASTONIA, N.C. Oct 18 2010– The bodies of a husband and wife were discovered inside of an SUV in the parking lot of the Gastonia Police Department early Sunday morning in what police called a murder-suicide.
Investigators have identified the couple as 45-year-old Randy Newman and his wife, Laura, who was 47.
A police officer found the bodies around 2:50 a.m. after noticing the SUV’s brake lights were on. When the officer went to see if they needed any assistance, he discovered the couple inside fatally wounded.
Investigators said there was no history of domestic violence between the couple, but Randy Newman was battling mental illness.
Gastonia Police Sgt. Jimmy Arndt said, “We’ve determined Mr. Newman had been suffering from depression and trying to work through some of the issues from some time and that depression had been worsening over time.”
Newman’s neighbor, Yates Smith, worked with Randy Newman at Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement for 12 years. Smith said he didn’t know his friend was suffering from depression and the affect it was having on his family. “They were really close, Randy, he adored his kids and wife. He lived for them,” he said.
Many in Gastonia are feeling the impact of this tragedy. For five years Laura Newman worked at Ashbrook High School as a teacher’s assistant and cheerleading coach.
Principal Page Carver issued a statement saying, “Laura Newman was an integral part of the Ashbrook family and she was loved by everyone.” Carver added the school is “grief-stricken over this heartbreaking news.”
Counselors will be at the school Monday for students and staff.
Rick Christenbury, a spokesperson for Mecklenburg County also issued a statement. “This is a very tragic circumstance.” The spokesperson said the county will look into the possibility of providing grief counselors to help employees deal with the situation.
Gastonia Police are not sure exactly what time the couple arrived at the police station or whether Laura Newman was shot in the parking lot or somewhere else. Investigators said Randy Newman was getting treatment for his depression.