Friday, January 11, 2013
When he visited his estranged wife in her father's home in a small Texas community near Dallas on Thursday, Robert Shaffer told her it was about the sale of their home in Whitehall Township.
Instead, Shaffer, 38, pulled out a handgun and shot Bethany Chomitzky Shaffer, 33, and then turned the gun on himself, police said. Both were found dead at the dining room table.
The couple's 5-year-old son and the woman's father were home when Shaffer pulled the trigger, police said, but both were unharmed.
A relative described Chomitzky Shaffer as caring, loving and full of life.
Police were dispatched around 5 p.m. on a 911 report of a shooting in the 2600 block of Misty Harbor Drive in Little Elm and found the bodies, said Capt. Rodney Harrison of the Little Elm police.
Evidence found in Shaffer's truck indicated his plans to kill his wife and himself, Harrison said.
The couple moved to Texas last summer because Shaffer's job with T-Mobile relocated him and other employees from the Lehigh Valley area, Harrison said.
At some point, the couple separated and they lived apart — she and their son stayed with her father in Little Elm, and he lived about 15 minutes away in Frisco, Harrison said.
He said evidence suggests Shaffer came to David Chomitzky's home Thursday to go over some financial matters with his wife, including the sale of their home in the 4500 block of Nile Drive in Whitehall.
Police found documents in Shaffer's vehicle that indicated his plan to end their lives and asked for forgiveness for his actions, Harrison said, stopping short of calling it a suicide note.
"I feel he did not want her to have a happy, prosperous life if he was not going to be in it," Chomitsky Shaffer's cousin Laura Thompson said in an email. "His actions were premeditated malice, to me that describes a monster. He showed no concern for her poor little boy who just celebrated his fifth birthday."
Thompson, of Hellertown, said Chomitsky Shaffer's son "was the fiber of her being and [she] lived for the special moments he brought into her life. She was a caring, loving and full-of-life best friend who I can't believe was taken from all of us so soon in life. She will be missed every minute of every day."
Chomitzky Shaffer graduated from Whitehall High School in 1997 and Northampton Community College in 2000. She and Shaffer have relatives in the Lehigh Valley.
According to records, they moved to Little Elm in August.
Harrison said this was the first homicide in two years in Little Elm, a city of about 28,000 people in Denton County. The last homicide involved a drug deal that went bad, he said.