Man, 64, kills mother, wife, then himself

August 10, 1993|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer Staff writer Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

Homicide investigators were trying to determine why a West Baltimore man fatally shot his elderly mother and wife last night before turning the gun on himself.

Police said they don't know why John Winters, 64, who arrived at his mother's home in the 500 block of N. Gilmor St., took out a gun and shot his 83-year-old mother, Mary Winters, and wife Minnie Winters, 59, before shooting himself in the head.

Police spokesman Sam Ringgold said Mr. Winters' 30-year-old daughter, who was present at the time of the shooting, fled when her father took out the gun about 7 p.m.

"She was hysterical," said a woman who had been sitting on the steps of a house across the street. "You really couldn't understand what she was saying. She was running up and down the street, and then a man came out of the house and screamed to call police."

Sharlita Jones, another neighbor, said she heard several shots.

"The first shot, I jumped up and called police," she said. "It was like a firecracker. My 12-year-old daughter was sitting on the front steps, and I told her to come inside."

Ms. Jones said said she heard at least four or five more shots and saw a man run out, screaming for someone to call police.

All three bodies were found within a few feet of each other in the first-floor living room of the three-story brick rowhouse, a residential care facility run by a family living there.

Police said witnesses had no indication that any argument had precided the gunfire. John and Mary Winters arrived at the house about two hours before the shooting to visit his mother, who was among the residents there.

Police said the women were sitting in chairs when they were shot -- the elderly mother suffering a neck wound and the wife being shot once in the chest. Mr. Winters then shot himself once in the head, falling to the floor with a .38-caliber revolver in his hand.

Officer John Rybarczyk Jr., who has been assigned to the Western District for about 25 years, said the incident was a contrast to the usual crimes in the area.

"It's a very high-crime and high-drug area," he said of the neighborhood. "It's right in the middle of the Edmondson Avenue drug corridor."

The three slayings brought the homicide total for the year to 214, compared with 198 at this time last year.

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