Saturday, February 4, 2012

De Pere, WI: Four die in murder-suicide in De Pere

DE PERE — A man shot and killed his wife and two children before fatally shooting himself Friday, police say.

Neighbors say and land records show Denis and Michelle Bay own the home at 1245 S. Erie St. in east De Pere, and the couple has two children, Andrea and Daniel, but police would not say whether these were the individuals at home during the shooting.

Police Chief Derek Beiderwieden said a man called police from inside the house about 3 p.m. to report that he had just killed three people and was about to kill himself. The phone line went silent, and others at the police station then heard a loud “pop,” the chief told the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Officers arriving at the home a short time later found four victims — two adults and two children — shot to death in a bedroom of the single-story home. Authorities recovered a firearm they think is the weapon used in the apparent murder-suicide, he said.

It appears that the first three victims were fatally shot a short time before the shooter called the police department, Beiderwieden said. Investigators had not identified a motive but were gathering evidence Friday.

It’s a “very, very tragic day for De Pere,” the chief said. It is De Pere’s first homicide in several years and possibly its first homicide with multiple victims.

“I believe the community is safe,” he said. “I believe this was an isolated incident.”

The Bays are going through a contested divorce, court records say, and Michelle, along with the children, had moved out about six months ago but returned home in the fall before the new school year, said Jane Nohr, who lives in the home behind the Bays.

“Why she went back with him I don’t know,” Nohr said.

The Bay family moved into the neighborhood about five years ago, said Nohr, who has lived at nearby 1244 O’Keefe Court for more than 30 years.

“I didn’t know the man very much,” Nohr said. “He was the kind of guy, if she was out talking to me, he’d send the kids to get her. He was very demanding.”

When Michelle, 44, and the children moved out, they lived in an apartment on East River Drive, and she bought the kids a dog, a lhasa apso named Maddy, Nohr said. When they moved back in with Denis Bay, they took the dog with them, but Denis, 46, “never liked the dog,” Andrea Bay had told her. The dog was led out of the residence by authorities Friday evening.

Nohr last saw Andrea Bay on Thursday morning when the girl was playing with the dog outside before school and brought it over to the fence to visit with Nohr’s two lhasa apsos.

Denis Bay was laid off about a year ago, Nohr said, but she didn’t know what his occupation had been. Michelle was on disability.

“She kept having one operation after another,” Nohr said, adding that she didn’t know why.

A number of neighbors noted that they didn’t know the family’s name, but saw the couple’s children — one in middle school and the other in elementary — get off the school bus after school Friday afternoon.

Nicole Born, who lives across the street from the house where the incident took place, said her husband talked to Bay and noted that he was “nice, very, very respectful.”

A police truck was outside the ranch-style home with an attached garage Friday evening. The garage door was open, showing a room nearly filled with materials. Beiderwieden said he does not think police had been called to the house for any previous trouble.

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