Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Medford, OR: Police investigate murder-suicide

Evalina Lattoure and Gregory Phillips found dead in west Medford driveway

By Anita Burke
Mail Tribune
April 20, 2010 2:00 AM
An apparent domestic dispute outside a duplex in west Medford Monday afternoon left a man and woman dead of gunshot wounds, Medford police said.

The shooting, reported at about 2:20 p.m., prompted a brief precautionary lockdown at Washington Elementary and South Medford High schools until police could confirm what had happened, Medford Police Chief Randy Schoen said.

Dead are Evalina Maria Lattoure, 39, and Gregory Alan Phillips, 57, both of Medford, police said.

Police received numerous 9-1-1 calls reporting a shooting Monday afternoon and arrived at 725 Beekman Ave. at 2:24 p.m. to find two people dead in the driveway of the home, the back unit of a duplex, Schoen said.

Officers and detectives swarmed the neighborhood, briefly blocking portions of Beekman Avenue and Peach Street as they secured the scene and sought witnesses.

Dustin Wilhelmi, who lives in the adjoining unit of the duplex with his mother and sister, said he heard a gunshot and stepped outside to see what was happening.

He saw someone partially on the ground next to a car parked in the driveway of the rear unit. As he looked on in shock, he saw a man in the car shoot himself.

"I freaked out and called the cops," he said. "That's some scary stuff."

Wilhelmi and his sister, Kayla, said Lattoure worked with their mother at Goodwill as a job coach.

They described her as a kind woman who attended church.

"She was very loving," Kayla Wilhelmi said.

They said Lattoure had lived just down the street with her 9-year-old daughter, her daughter's father and another man she had a relationship with. Neighbors described both of the men as Lattoure's former boyfriends, but said they all seemed to get along well.

The home they had all shared was foreclosed on in January, Jackson County property records show. Jackson County Circuit Court records indicate that the residents had agreed to leave by the end of this month. The Wilhelmis said the family was moving into the duplex.

The 9-year-old and her father were unharmed and were together Monday afternoon after the shooting, police said.

Police said only one of those found dead in the driveway was moving into the home, but investigators didn't have all the details on Monday.

The investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting, which police described as a domestic violence case ending in a homicide and a suicide, continues.

Police immediately had notified schools of the shooting reports, so school officials could secure the campuses until officers could determine whether a gunman was still at large, Schoen said.

The school day was ending at Washington, so school officials brought in children who were on the grounds and kept them inside with the blinds drawn and the doors locked. The precautionary measures of closing blinds and locking doors were taken at the high school and the adjacent administrative offices, too, said Rich Miles, the Medford School District's director of elementary education.

Schools routinely practice both precautionary lockdowns, which are put in place while authorities evaluate a potential threat, and a more rigorous total lockdown, which would be used if a school was directly threatened, he said.

As soon as witnesses told police that the dead man and woman were the only ones involved in the shooting, officers notified the schools that it was safe to release students. The lockdowns lasted about 20 minutes.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 541-776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.

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