Police work to unravel details of shooting that left two dead, one critically injured
February 26, 2013 10:00 AM
The Cozy Inn parking lot, off Route 22 in Murrysville, where a murder-suicide took place Saturday.
By Molly Born Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Murrysville police Chief Thomas Seefeld said he may never be able to learn why Michael L. Lunsford killed one woman, shot another and then fatally shot himself in the head after summoning his wife to the Cozy Inn parking lot Saturday night.
The killing of Gina Llewellyn, a friend of Mr. Lunsford's wife, was the first in the municipality since 2000, the chief said Monday.
Though the two had a "rocky marriage," Mr. Lunsford didn't name his wife, Ashley McHugh, as a target in the note he had in his pocket, and he made "no attempt toward Ashley" before opening fire on the others.
"We may never really know," Chief Seefeld said Monday at a news conference.
Mr. Lunsford, 21, called Ms. McHugh, 22, Saturday evening and told her that her dog had been hit by a car and that it needed to go to a veterinarian -- a ploy to lure her to a parking lot near the East Suburban Animal Hospital, Chief Seefeld said.
About 7:25 p.m., police received two calls for several shots fired in the Cozy Inn lot.
Responding officers saw a red pickup truck, which they learned belonged to Mr. Lunsford, and a dark-colored SUV, driven by the Llewellyn family.
They also saw a man, later identified as Joe Llewellyn, cradling his wife, Gina, 50, who had been fatally shot in the chest, Chief Seefeld said.
A second woman, their 22-year-old daughter, Lynall Llewellyn, suffered a "life-threatening" gunshot wound to the upper torso.
She was flown to Allegheny General Hospital and remained in critical condition Monday.
Mr. and Mrs. Llewellyn's 11-year-old niece was also in the SUV. She, Mr. Llewellyn and Ms. McHugh were not harmed.
Police found Mr. Lunsford on the ground next to the truck with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Chief Seefeld said.
The investigation revealed that Ms. McHugh had been visiting the Llewellyn family in the Allegheny Township area when her husband called about the dog. The family agreed to take Ms. McHugh to her husband.
Chief Seefeld said when the five pulled into the lot across the road from the animal hospital, Ms. McHugh got out and was "somewhat bewildered" when she couldn't locate her dog. A "short, verbal conflict" ensued with her husband near his truck.
Mrs. Llewellyn and her daughter got out of their SUV. Mr. Lunsford walked around his truck with a rifle and shot them once each, Chief Seefeld said.
Police found three rounds at the scene and no other ammunition in Mr. Lunsford's truck. The rifle, a .30-30, was not reported stolen.
Chief Seefeld said the couple, who wed about two months ago and lived with Ms. McHugh's parents on School Road South in Murrysville, may have had martial problems.
"We're putting together that perhaps he was a little obsessive and controlling with Ashley," he said.
Ms. McHugh told police her husband grabbed and punched her two or three weeks ago, but the incident was never reported to authorities.
Chief Seefeld declined to discuss details about the note in Mr. Lunsford's pocket, but he said it contained no threat to harm Ms. McHugh.
Police know little else about Mr. Lunsford. He was discharged from the Army in June and was originally from out of state. Chief Seefeld did not know the details of his discharge or his duties in the military. Efforts to reach his family were not successful.
Murrysville police have had no previous encounters with him, Chief Seefeld said. He had been living there only about two months.
Police will continue the investigation and hope to locate additional witnesses.