BETHEL, Conn. (WTNH) — Police are investigating an apparent murder-suicide after a husband and wife were found shot inside their home late Tuesday night in Bethel.
Officers were called to a home on Reservoir Street just before midnight after getting a call about “yelling.” When officers arrived at the house, police said they found two people suffering from gunshot wounds.
Traci Jones, 52, died from gunshot wounds to the head and trunk, and her death has been ruled a homicide, according to the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.
Her husband, 58-year-old Lester Jones, was taken to Danbury Hospital, where police said he was pronounced dead. According to the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner, he died from a gunshot wound to the head, and his death has been ruled a suicide.
News 8 learned from WTEN in Albany, New York, that Lester Jones was arrested in Moreau, New York, on Jan. 25 and charged with first-degree criminal contempt and misdemeanor second-degree aggravated harassment for violating a no-contact order issued in Bethel, Conn. He was ordered to reappear in court on Feb. 22.
Val Rindom, one of Traci’s friends and coworkers, told News 8 she was beyond shocked. Rindom said she knew Traci was in fear for her life by her husband and that the two women had just spoken on Tuesday.
“Dear lord… listen to me, something could have been done! It’s devastating,” Rindom said. “It’s so devastating, and this is a small town, you know what I mean, and news, good or bad, travels fast. My phone has been ringing off the wall all morning.”
The Bethel Police Department is still investigating, but said there is no threat to the community.
Mary Jane Foster, the president and CEO of the domestic violence agency Interval House, said that the number of murder-suicides have increased. She encourages people to speak up when they see something troubling.
“We need to raise awareness about this issue,” Foster said. “We need to make people understand that this is not a normal part of life.”
She said to have a plan on how to leave a toxic relationship, which includes calling domestic violence hotlines.