Updated:ST. CLOUD, Fla.,None - A murder-suicide in St. Cloud has left three young children without a mother and a father and, police say, a man and his wife got into a fight Tuesday night.
The couple was found shot at a home on Chamberlin Trail in the Indian Lakes subdivision off Michigan Avenue ( see map ), according to St. Cloud police.
Police said 36-year-old Christopher Durinick shot his wife, 37-year-old Margaret Durinick, and then turned the gun on himself. Police said the couple was in the midst of a divorce. Their 6-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old were asleep upstairs during the incident. They are staying with relatives.
Police said the couple was in the middle of a domestic dispute inside their home. Margaret ran next door to a neighbor's house for help. Christopher followed her and shot her in the hip with a high-powered rifle on the neighbor's front lawn.
The neighbor, Leo English, grabbed his own handgun and shot back at Christopher, hitting him in the stomach. Christopher then ran back inside his home and shot himself.
"The force that he used was justified by the law. Obviously, we would not condone people getting involved. We would prefer they'd call us. From all accounts we have, what Mr. English did was very heroic," said Captain Bret Dunn of the St. Cloud Police Department.
Law enforcement officials arrived at the couple's home around 9:00pm Tuesday. Christopher was pronounced dead on the scene by St. Cloud Fire Rescue officials. Margaret was transported to the hospital where she later died.
WFTV spoke to a woman who said she was at home with her kids when she heard a loud pop, and then she heard yelling.
"When I came out to see if everyone was OK, I heard, um, people yelling, screaming, 'Call 911, call 911!'" neighbor Jasmine Sepulveda said.
Officials said there is a camera outside of the couple's home. Police are investigating if it was on during the shooting.
WFTV spoke with Leo English who was caught in the middle of the deadly fight. English told WFTV he had no choice but to shoot his neighbor, who he considered a good friend.
One message stands out on Christopher's Facebook page: "I love you Margaret. Thank you for being my wife." He posted that just five days before he shot and killed her on their neighbor's doorstep.
"I feel really bad for the family. I can't imagine what they're going through right now," said neighbor Karen English.
Karen and Leo English are still shaken by what happened at their home.
"He fired into the house and it went between my legs," Leo said. "He raised his gun to shoot at me again. I told him, 'Chris leave.' He just started coming toward me."
According to the Englishs', Margaret and Christopher had their ups and downs but they say nothing could have predicted this. It will take them time to move past the shock. The bullet that hit Margaret is still lodged in their coffee table.
"That was the first thought we had. We hope the kids are OK," said Leo. "It doesn't seem real. The mind is not quite catching up with what happened." .
The St. Cloud Police Department said they have never responded to any domestic violence calls at the Durinick's home.
The Department of Children and Families said they discovered a strange twist to the case.
DCF looked into allowing the kids to go with their uncle, John Durinick, who is Christopher's brother. However, he's facing charges for having a sexual relationship with under-aged students at a local Tae Kwon Do studio where he worked as an instructor.
Once DCF realized that, they put the children in the care of other relatives.