Police: Depression, health issues factors in Utah murder-suicide

According to UHP Cpl. Todd Johnson, the shooting resulted from a “marital issue, a relationship issue.” Johnson added that Felipe Rodriguez appeared to have been the person who fired the shots.

Family members said last week that the couple appeared to be happy and there were no warning signs.

Peg Coleman, executive director of the Utah Domestic Violence Council, said that’s not unusual. Coleman did not have information about the recent Utah incidents, but said troubled couples sometimes let issues “simmer and brew for years.”

Coleman also said murder-suicides typically happen when there is a power imbalance in the relationship.

“Often times you’ll see it where one person had a lot more control over the other person,” she said.

According to a report by the Utah Office on Domestic Violence, there were 19 domestic violence-related deaths in Utah in 2010, the most recent figures available. Three of those victims were men who also killed their cohabitants. A fourth man tried to commit suicide after killing his wife but survived, the report said.

According to the National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative, from 2003-2008, a third of domestic violence homicide suspects committed suicide after killing their partners. Those suspects — 92.6 percent of whom were men — also often had a history of domestic violence, access to a gun, had previously made threats, and had poor mental health or substance abuse issues.

Coleman urged people in potentially dangerous relationships, as well as those who might be aware of friends or family struggling with domestic violence, to reach out to authorities.

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