On June 20 2002 on Whidbey Island in Washington, Preston Dean Douglas, 27, shot his fiancee and her mother to death and wounded two other people before turning the gun on himself, a day after the fiancee reported that she suspected him of molesting her young daughter, the Whidbey Island County Sheriff Hawley said.
When Holly Swartz moved herself and her child into her mother's house, Douglas reacted by shooting Swartz, 30, of Clinton, her mother Marjorie Monnett, 55, of Freeland and the mother of eight children, Marjorie's son Bruce Monnett, 22, and his girlfriend Sierra Klug, 18, both of Freeland.
Holly and Marjorie were killed, and Bruce and Sierra survived. Douglas then shot and killed himself.
Douglas was a Jamaican national, who reportedly was in the country illegally.
Bruce Monnett was shot in the abdomen and Klug was shot on her right arm, right leg and abdomen. Both were originally in serious condition but survived after extensive surgery.
About 18 shotgun shells littered the road in the small subdivision on the southern end of Whidbey Island, about 28 miles north of Seattle.
Sheriff Hawley gave this account:
Douglas parked his rusty, light blue van about 50 yards from the home at about 1:30 a.m. He walked in the back door, and shot Bruce Monnett in the kitchen. Klug ran to the garage, where Douglas shot her, nearly severing her arm.
Monnett, soaked with blood from a gunshot wound to the stomach, ran to a neighbor's house.
Neighbors who watched through the windows reported seeing Douglas going from room to room, apparently looking for Swartz, who was at a house two doors down.
Swartz's 7-year-old daughter knew where her mother was and ran there unharmed. Douglas started to follow, firing a shot in the air and yelling for Swartz.
That's when he saw Mrs. Monnett in the street, near a parked yellow pickup. He shot her in the hip and, after she collapsed, in the head. Swartz, apparently thinking Douglas was simply firing in the air, came outside. She too was shot in the hip and then in the face.
Douglas approached her body and shot himself in the head, crumpling on top of her.
The day before, Swartz called the sheriff's office to say she thought Douglas had molested her daughter two weeks ago, Hawley said. An investigator suggested she move out of the residence she shared with him in Clinton, and she did - moving in with her mother Wednesday night.
Hawley said deputies were following standard procedure in checking out the abuse allegation and didn't know what might have been done differently.
"The indications are he had one thing in mind," the sheriff said, as detectives and deputies cleaned the crime scene behind him. "His intent was to wipe out the family."
Sometime in the past year, he met Holly Swartz, who moved to Whidbey from the Vancouver area with her 7-year-old daughter to be closer to her own mother.
Sometime this week, as Swartz gave her daughter a bath, the little girl told her mother that Douglas had touched her in places where he shouldn't have, Hawley said
Swartz confronted Douglas Wednesday morning and ordered him out of the house, Hawley said. Then she left the little girl with Robinson, drove to the Island County Sheriff's Department's south precinct and reported the molestation complaint to Lt. Evan Tingstad, the office's chief deputy.
Tingstad, following office procedure on molestation reports, advised Swartz to move her daughter out of the apartment, Hawley said. He forwarded her claim to Detective Sue Quandt, the lone detective in the short-staffed department who specializes in sex cases.
Douglas had arrived on the island from Jamaica several years ago, and though he apparently immigrated illegally, he never raised any alarms with residents.
He had been married to a much older woman, but he left her last summer to date Swartz, friends said.
"I'm so confused, because I never knew him as anything or anyone violent," said landscaper Michael Orr, Douglas' boss for the past two years. "This is just weird."
Orr said that Douglas came to the United States several years ago from St. Mary's, Jamaica, where he was one of 13 children. His family was left behind. Douglas moved to Whidbey with his wife, an artist about two decades older. It was a controlling relationship, with the older woman keeping close tabs on him.
As Douglas' marriage apparently decayed, Orr said, he tried to help him get his green card from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He hoped, someday, to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Documentation:20JUN02, KOMO TV
5 Shot, 3 Dead In Whidbey Murder-Suicide
21JUN02, Seattle pi
Murder-suicide stuns Whidbey community, by David Fisher
21JUN02, Police One
Slayings Shock Northwest Island Town, by Ian Ith, Seattle Times