Brian Vieau, 38, and his wife Tracy Vieau, 40, were the parents of two children ages 3 and 6 years of age (one report says 4 and 6.) They had been married for 13 years, but the marriage was ending. Tracy Vieau was living apart with the children and the couple were planning to divorce. Brian Vieau was a police officer and worked nights, so Tray Vieau was in the habit of taking the children there each evening to spend some time with their father. Friends have said Brian Vieau was suffering stress from the impending divorce, along with pressures from the job.
Thursday evening Tracy Vieau had again brought the children to the home. When she arrived back at the home about 7:13 pm to pick the children up, police say that Brian Vieau used his duty weapon to shoot his estranged wife three times.
And they say that Vieau then called 911 and reported a domestic dispute with shots fired. He then turned the gun on himself.
Police found Tracy Vieau near the front door. Brian Vieau was found in his uniform with a shot to his head and the gun near his body. Police also found a suicide note was found typed up on the computer, the note was left on the screen for police to find. In the note Vieau reportedly described his unhappiness with the marriage.
Upstairs in the home police found the two sons watching cartoons in a room with the door closed. Police say they did not witness the crime. The children were taken out of the home with their heads covered in order to prevent them from seeing the aftermath. The children are now with relatives.
I always have difficulty writing one about police officers. I have a lot of respect for law enforcement and the job they do. So when a person who is charged with the duty to serve and protect, becomes the perpetrator I find that difficult.
Had the murder been committed by anyone else- even under the current circumstances- Brian Vieau would likely have done all that he could to apprehend the perpetrator and bring him to justice.
Yet when off duty, he is a man like any other. Subject to the same feelings and emotions that any other person would feel in the same circumstances. Trained to keep himself and others under control in volatile situations, that training can break down when it is personal.
Many departments offer some counseling to the officers to help cope with problems they may have, including personal ones. And according to one article that service was available to Vieau. Yet many officers are reluctant to use the service in fear that it may change how others view them or affect their chances of advancement. It is important for a law enforcement officer to utilize the counseling service if they find themselves having difficulty coping with situations- whether it be due to the job or to a personal situation. Because their ability to maintain control is important to us all.
Divorce does cause stress, even if you want the divorce. There is stress over the ending of the relationship, stress of going to court, stress over finances, and stress over the children. Depression is often present during a divorce. But time and a short round of counseling can often alleviate some of the stress or at least give it some different perspective. One thing that struck me, was that in this situation he was apparently seeing his children daily. In many divorces the visitation with the children is much more restricted or not present at all.
Two children, happily watching cartoons. Thankfully they were spared seeing the worst of it. But no one can spare them from learning about how a loved one can kill another loved one. No one can spare them from growing up, knowing that something terrible happened and that both of their parents are gone. They will survive. And with love and care they will manage well. But there will always be times when this will come back to them and affect them in a negative way. At Health and Child Trauma discusses the affect of grief on children and suggestions on ways to cope.