A 37-year-old lieutenant at the Patuxent Institution shot and killed a fellow correctional supervisor then took his own life during yesterday morning's change of shifts at the Jessup facility -- a murder-suicide that state police investigators tentatively characterized as a domestic dispute.
Correctional Lt. Vivian Zina Anderson, 38, was shot at least once in the face as she stood in a hallway outside the guards' basement roll-call room in a building at Patuxent shortly after 7 a.m., according to Sgt. Greg Shipley, a state prisons spokesman.
The female lieutenant, a 10-year veteran of the state corrections system who had just finished the overnight shift at the facility, was pronounced dead at the scene, as was her assailant, a nine-year veteran of the prison system identified as Lt. Eugene Kenneth Davis.
Lieutenant Anderson, a Severn resident, was shot moments after she was confronted by Lieutenant Davis, 37, who had just arrived for his 8-to-4 shift at the building, which is part of the corrections department annex that houses overflow prisoners from other state prisons.
Other correctional officers near the scene said three shots were heard, according to Sergeant Shipley. A .38-caliber handgun was recovered at the scene.
Sergeant Shipley said that although the circumstances of the shootings were still under investigation yesterday, it appeared that Lieutenant Davis, also of Severn, arrived at work and took the murder weapon from the facility's arsenal.
Investigators from the Waterloo barracks of the state police were still interviewing staff at the facility yesterday, but there were preliminary indications that the victims had been involved in a relationship.
The shootings occurred in a section of the building used for administrative offices and conferences. The upper floors of that same building are being used as dormitory housing for inmates, but there were no inmates near the shooting scene and the secure sections of the building were unaffected.
Other correctional officers were near the site of the confrontation, but none was able to intervene, Sergeant Shipley said.
Prison guards are normally not equipped with firearms while working within a correctional facility.
Investigators said it was unclear whether any words were exchanged between the lieutenants before the gunshots. No suicide note was recovered, according to Sergeant Shipley.