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Police: Couple in murder-suicide had history of domestic disturbances

A couple with a long history of domestic violence were found shot to death in the middle of an Allentown street this morning apparent victims of a murder suicide, Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said.

Police believe the man and woman were recently married, but had a long-standing relationship that was marked by repeated incidents of domestic violence.

The bodies of the man and woman believed to be in their mid-40s were lying in the street when police arrived at 49 College St. at approximately 7:40 a.m., Derenda said during a late morning press conference outside Buffalo Police Headquarters on Franklin Street.

Police were called to the same address late last night on a report of domestic violence, Derenda confirmed.

“The suspect was gone at the time,” Derenda said. “He apparently returned this morning after being told the female was going back to Florida. We believe he killed her and then himself. It appears they moved up here a short time ago.”

“It appears the officers did everything they needed to do,” Derenda said. “This was a long-standing relationship with a long history of domestic violence. It appears she stayed with him for whatever reason. I believe there’s an order of protection on him out of Tennessee.”

The shooting occurred in front of the one-and-a-half story white clapboard house that the couple rented on College, neighbors said.

They were married not too long ago, said police officials, who have not released the names of the dead.

Derenda said the couple had a long history of domestic disturbances when they lived in Florida and Tennessee.

Neighbors said four shots were fired, three immediately, then a delayed shot. They speculated the final shot was the man taking his own life. His body was found draped over the woman’s body.

“We heard three gunshots in a row, and then the delayed shot,” said Curt Rotterdam. “It was boom, boom, boom, and we said ‘what the heck is going on?’ and came running outside.”

The sight of the dead couple and the noise of the gunshots shocked residents on this first block of College Street, a short distance from Allen Street.

“They moved in about a year and a half ago. He would come up and hug me sometimes,” said Millie LoTempio. “They really didn’t bother anybody.”

Derenda cautioned that it was too early in the investigation to draw any conclusions about the circumstances that led to the deaths.

“You really can’t control domestics,” he said. “If she would have left him a while back maybe we wouldn’t be where we are. We can’t speak to their relationship. Unfortunately these things can happen anywhere whether here, Florida or Tennessee.