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‘Domestic situation’ likely cause of North Tonawanda murder-suicide

NORTH TONAWANDA – A man fatally shot his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself in what North Tonawanda Police believe was a murder-suicide at the man’s house, police said Wednesday.

The man’s body was discovered in the living room of a Jesella Drive home Tuesday evening by a male friend of the couple.

Authorities said a shotgun was used and each person was shot once.

Police said they would not release the names of the dead. They were described as a 45-year-old man and 37-year-old woman. The woman lived in Niagara Falls.

Police said the event looked like “a domestic situation” and it did not appear as though anyone else was involved.

Investigators have yet to be able to pinpoint the exact time of the shootings.

The couple was last seen at about 10 p.m. Monday and the friend reported the discovery of the man’s body at about 6:55 p.m. Tuesday, said North Tonawanda Police Det. Capt. Thomas E. Krantz.

The friend went to the house because he hadn’t heard from the couple, police said. After seeing the man’s body, the friend went no farther into the home and contacted police, who then discovered the woman’s body.

Police found no suicide note and said they don’t know what precipitated the murder-suicide.

“We have no idea what led up to it at this point,” Krantz said during a late-morning news conference outside police headquarters.

Police responded to a domestic situation between the couple at the Jesella Drive home in September, Krantz said. That incident ended with the woman leaving the home in a taxi.

No charges were filed in that case, Krantz said.

Jesella Drive, off Walck Road between Nash Road and Payne Avenue, is essentially a circle formed by three streets – Jesella, Jesella Drive West and Jesella Drive North – lined by bungalow-style homes.

Autopsies were scheduled for Wednesday.

The investigation is ongoing, police said.