PITTSBURGH (AP) — A man with a history of threatening his estranged wife surprised her in his mother’s home on Friday and shot her at least 25 times before he killed himself, police said.
The wife, Stephanie Byrd, had gotten a protection from abuse order against Bruce Byrd in early April before it was vacated later in the month with her consent, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Pittsburgh police’s major-crimes unit chief, Cmdr. Kevin Kraus, said a neighbor reported hearing shots fired from the house at about 12:15 p.m., prompting a heavy police response that included a SWAT team.
Kraus said Stephanie Byrd, a 44-year-old UPMC Shadyside nurse, had had a friend drive her to her mother-in-law’s house to pick up some belongings. Police say she had lived next door with her 46-year-old husband before she moved out in late March and had expected he would not be there when she went to get the items.
Moments after she went into the house, the friend saw her come to a window and pound on it for help, Kraus said. About 30 gunshots ensued, he said.
Police said they found evidence of gunfire downstairs and in a stairway leading upstairs.
According to WTAE-TV, Bruce Byrd posted a message on Facebook hours before the shooting: “I love you! I miss you! Please talk to me...Life isn’t worth living without you...I fight for your love. I’ll never stop.”
In 2005, Bruce Byrd had been charged with simple assault, making terroristic threats, unlawful restraint with risk of serious bodily injuries and carrying a firearm without a license after he showed up at Stephanie Byrd’s workplace and threatened to kill her, the Post-Gazette reported, citing Allegheny County court records. He later pleaded guilty to simple assault and received two years of probation.
Court records indicate that Bruce Byrd was scheduled to go to trial Monday on charges of making false statements and knowingly submitting false information to the government.
Neighbors told the Post-Gazette that police escorted Stephanie Byrd to the home about 10 days ago, possibly to collect her belongings.