BUSHWICK — Neighbors of a Brooklyn couple found dead Sunday night in an apparent murder-suicide said they were stunned at the news and never saw signs that foreshadowed the violence.
Emergency workers responded to a 911 call about 5 p.m. and arrived at 526 Central Ave. to find Christopher Pickering, 37, and his girlfriend Elizabeth Thompkins, 22, both dead in their home with gunshot wounds to the head, police said.
The is the second recent incident in the neighborhood where a man has turned a gun on his girlfriend then killed himself, according to police.
Police recovered a black semi-automatic firearm at the scene and after a preliminary investigation determined that Pickering, who had no prior arrests, had shot Thompkins before turning the weapon on himself, according to police. The investigation is ongoing.
Pickering's family members who live in the apartment adjacent to his in their split level house on Central Avenue, declined to comment on what had happened Tuesday.
Neighbors, who said that the family had lived on the block since the nineties, struggled to come to grips with the tragedy.
"He's not that kind of person," said Looby Stalbord, 29, who grew up on the same block as Pickering two houses down from his. "He was like the calmest, smoothest guy ever. He always had a smile on his face."
Other neighbors said that Thompkins had moved in with Pickering around two years ago and mothered his youngest child, who was around a year and a half. Pickering had three older children who lived with another woman, they said.
Stalbord said that on the day of the murder-suicide, one of Pickering's relatives had come to tell his family about what had happened.
"What is she talking about? Sounds like something you would have heard of out of a movie," he said. "I didn't think that it was real. I still don't think that was real."
Sunday's murder suicide comes days after a similar incident June 30, where a woman was critically injured after she was shot in the head by her boyfriend, Keith Allen, a Nassau county court officer. Allen then killed himself with a Glock semi-automatic pistol found at the scene, 10 Forrest St.