Kathy Huber laid roses on the front lawn of the Shoreview house where her neighbors Nancy Sullivan and Johnny Simpson died in a murder-suicide.
“It’s getting to me,” Huber, 58, said as she teared up Wednesday.
Like other neighbors, she said there weren’t any warning signs to indicate that something was wrong.
“John’s been a good neighbor all these years. Real friendly,” Huber said.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office officially classified the shooting as a murder-suicide Wednesday and identified Simpson as the suspect. The fatal shooting of Sullivan, a 57-year-old Minneapolis attorney, happened as she was trying to move out of the home she shared with Simpson, 65, her longtime boyfriend.
Professional movers, her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend were at the home when Sullivan was apparently killed.
A little before 10 a.m. Tuesday, deputies responded to a report of shots fired inside a house in the 5900 block of Grotto Street in Shoreview. They found Sullivan and Simpson dead. Sullivan’s daughter Kathleen M. Fay, 29, of St. Paul, along with her boyfriend Tony S. Brown, 28, of St. Paul, were injured and taken to Regions Hospital.
Fay was still listed in critical condition Wednesday. Brown’s condition was unavailable.
“We are grateful for all of the thoughts and prayers for our family,” Fay’s family said in a statement. “We ask that the media and the public respect our privacy at this time, so that we may focus on healing.”
The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office was in the process of examining Sullivan and Simpson’s bodies Wednesday but didn’t have any information yet to release.
John Schwartz, president of AAA Movers, the company that had been helping Sullivan move, said in a statement, “Our sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victims’ family members.”
The Shoreview shooting appears to follow a similar tragic storyline as several other fatal domestic violence cases that have shaken the Twin Cities in recent months.
Sullivan is the seventh metro-area woman killed this year allegedly by a boyfriend or husband.
In the majority of domestic homicides in the metro area this year, the victims didn’t have orders for protection filed against their partners and many of the suspected perpetrators didn’t have a history of domestic abuse convictions.
In the Shoreview case, court records showed no order for protection filed against Simpson and no domestic violence convictions. However, court records from Simpson’s 2002 divorce accuse him of domestic abuse and bullying.
Numbers of requests filed for orders for protections statewide so far this year are on track to match last year’s numbers. According to the state court administrator’s office, 4,568 have been filed so far this year. Last year there were 11,470, an almost 6 percent increase from 2008, though the numbers haven’t steadily increased.
Danielle Kluz, coordinator of Bridges to Safety, a St. Paul domestic abuse service center, said in light of recent high profile domestic violence cases, more people have taken advantage of her center’s services, which includes safety planning, legal aid and help filing for orders for protection. In February, her organization served 89 people, compared with 167 people last month.
“I would hope that people would see these tragic stories and think this is the time to get help because we know how some of these cases end,’’ Kluz said.