Peter Heiberger, 44, and his wife Elena, 32, were the parents of 4 children ages 5-13. Peter Heiberger was an ex-police officer. Early in his career he was involved in two officer shootings which have been variously described as “friendly fire” or accidental shootings of fellow officers. But he went on to a 20 year career in law enforcement, and received 6 commendations for excellent police work during that career. He retired from the police department in Feb. of 2006.
Neighbors say they thought the couple were friendly and good parents, and Peter Heiberger walked or drove his kids to the school bus stop every day.
Peter Heiberber got another job after his retirement. In July he began working as a clerk. And according to statements in the media, fellow employees have said that the couple were not getting along. Reportedly on Monday, Elena Heiberger came to the store and was talking about divorce. Local police also say they were familiar with the couple as they had been called to the home for domestic disputes.
Two of their children, ages 11 and 13 returned to the home after school on Tues. They found their parents in the home. Police say it was an apparent murder suicide. Police have indicated their belief that Heiberger shot his wife Elena twice in the head before turning the gun on himself. Police say they have recovered a weapon from the home and it was registered to Peter Heiberger.
The children are now reported to be in the care of relatives.
4 children, with parents not getting along. A difficult situation, but not that unusual. Even talk of a divorce, likely they had friends who also had divorced parents. But arguments that escalated to the point that police had to be called, that would have been scary for them. The mother they loved, vs. the father they loved. A situation that can cause divided loyalties in a child.
Then to get off from school, with the typical teen and preteen preoccupations. What they could do before settling for the night, homework, maybe even thinking about the events of the day.
They walk into their home and find blood. Their mother dead, their father dead. They may have wondered what happened, who did that to the parents they loved. They may or may not have known what actually happened. But at some point they will learn.
How do you reconcile the memories of your loving parents with the last sight you have of them?