In the week before she died, Mariah Anderson was petrified, always looking over her shoulder, but she was determined to carry on with her life.
The 22-year-old filed for a protection-from-abuse order last Tuesday against her estranged boyfriend, also the father of her three young children. Four years earlier, she'd filed another restraining order, accusing him of threatening to kill her.
Pennsylvania State Police and her family said he had violated the latest one, stalking her and showing up to her job at the Walmart in Union. On Sunday, as she was leaving work, he opened fire, fatally shooting her in the store parking lot, and later killing himself.
"This is domestic violence at its highest form," said her brother, Luv Prowell, who lives in Sharon.
State police Lt. Eric Hermick said tactical officers surrounded a New Brighton apartment complex Monday morning, made entry and found Carlos Harper, 27, of New Castle.
Police had obtained a warrant for his arrest Monday in Ms. Anderson's death and received information that he was at an apartment in the Brightwood Manor complex, where police said he stayed.
Lt. Hermick said a single shot was fired about 8 a.m. Monday from inside the apartment. The round went out the window, but no officers were hurt. People inside the apartment at the time were removed and taken to the Beaver barracks to be interviewed, and the complex was evacuated. Police fired no shots.
Mr. Harper was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot.
Lawrence County court records show Ms. Anderson filed for a PFA order last Tuesday against Mr. Harper, writing that he bit her wrist while trying to take her phone Nov. 10 and threatened to kill her. He cross-filed three days later, accusing her of driving by his house and putting a shotgun out the window, threatening him.
Mr. Harper was charged last Tuesday with simple assault, indecent assault and false imprisonment for actions that police allege took place Nov. 10. He was released after posting $1,000 bond and was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the charges this week, court records show.
Ms. Anderson also had filed for a restraining order against Mr. Harper in 2009 citing threats.
"Carlos says he hopes I die and that he is going to be in jail for killing all his babies mom's," she wrote. It expired in May 2012.
Her relatives, including the couple's children, ages 1, 3 and 4, gathered at the family home in New Castle on Monday afternoon. Ms. Anderson's siblings and cousins said Mr. Harper had gone to bizarre extremes in the last week, including disguising his appearance and once hiding in her vehicle.
Police and co-workers had been helping make sure she made it safely to her car after work, relatives said.
On Sunday night, Ms. Anderson was finishing up her shift at the Walmart deli counter. A fellow employee had walked her to her vehicle. As she was leaving, Mr. Harper opened fire on her vehicle, shooting her multiple times with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, state police said.
She was rushed to Jameson Hospital in New Castle, where she died.
Asked whether the killing was premeditated, Lt. Hermick said: "I can't speak for his mind frame, but he had a weapon with him and he had been stalking her, so you draw your own conclusions."
Ms. Anderson's family remembered her as a nurturing mother, happy and always smiling.
"She was everything. She was the light for our family," Mr. Prowell said.
Police are using surveillance video from Walmart, which captured part of the shooting, and said the investigation continues. The lieutenant said Mr. Harper had been with two other people from Mississippi earlier Sunday, but police had not been able to locate them Monday.
Molly Born: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1944. First Published November 18, 2013 7:32 AM