Sunday, March 25, 2012

Martha's Vineyard, MA: 1 dead, 1 wounded in Martha's Vineyard shooting

BOSTON—A shooting Friday morning at an estranged couple's home on Martha's Vineyard left the husband dead and his wife hospitalized with gunshot wounds, police said.

The violence erupted shortly before 8 a.m. when the man apparently broke into the West Tisbury home and shot his wife, police said. Investigators identified the couple as Kenneth Bloomquist, 64, and Cynthia Bloomquist, 63.

They said the wife called 911 and police found her in an upstairs bedroom with gunshot wounds to her torso. Police also found her husband upstairs, already dead of apparent gunshot wounds.

Cynthia Bloomquist later underwent surgery at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, where she was in stable condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe wouldn't say whether the wife shot her husband in self-defense.

But O'Keefe said the investigation so far shows that the wife had access to a small-caliber gun, though her wounds were from a different kind of gun.

The husband's mother, 94-year-old Barbara Bloomquist, was shocked to learn of her son's death. She said he was distressed about separating from his wife of four decades, but she never expected there would be any violence.

She said her son moved out of the couple's home months ago, but that he was hoping to reunite with his wife even though she had a new boyfriend.

Barbara Bloomquist said the couple inherited guns from her late husband years ago, and both took shooting lessons.

"He's been beside himself, so upset at what was happening," she said of her son. "... He had told me, `We're not getting a divorce, just a separation.' But things got worse and worse."

The woman said her son and daughter-in-law were high school sweethearts who married in 1971 by the pond in the backyard of his childhood home. She said the couple led a lovely life together for years, traveling extensively in Europe.

"He may have tried to persuade her to stay or to keep on with their marriage," Barbara Bloomquist told The Associated Press. "He didn't want this separation. He thought they had the best marriage ever."

Cynthia Bloomquist retired after working for decades at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a bachelor's degree, a school spokeswoman said. An online social networking profile says she retired in 2010 as senior associate director of MIT's corporate relations.

Kenneth Bloomquist had an aerial photography business, according to his mother, who said he was a pilot who owned a Cessna plane.

She last talked to her son Thursday, when he said he would visit her at her assisted-living facility in a couple of days.

"I never thought anything like this would happen and I never dreamed I could lose Ken," she said of her only son. "... He was so good to me."

A close neighbor of the couple who heard the gunshots Friday morning said she visited Cynthia Bloomquist after her surgery.

The woman, who asked for her name to be withheld for privacy reasons, said Cynthia Bloomquist told her she was glad to have survived the day.

"Her spirits are up because she's alive and she didn't expect to be," the woman said. "I said, `You've got to be thankful for that, Cindy.'"

The neighbor said Bloomquist was sad about her husband's death.

"She wishes it could have been otherwise," the neighbor said. "... Whatever it was, it was definitely in self-defense."

The Boston Globe reported that Cynthia Bloomquist went to police and sought an emergency restraining order against her husband on March 1, but a judge decided she was in no immediate threat of injury and didn't issue the order.

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