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3 dead, 1 injured in possible murder-suicide

Authorities are investigating the deaths of three people and the shooting injury of a woman in a house near Tampa Bay as a possible murder-suicide.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Three people were found dead in a Tampa Bay-area home Monday in what police described as a possible murder-suicide.

Police responding to a report of a suicidal person around 6 a.m. heard a fourth person, Sherry Hice, calling for help.

Hice, 46, was shot but survived. She was airlifted to Bayfront Medical Center, where her condition was not immediately available.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office deputies forced their way into the back of the home and found the bodies of Hice's roommate, Michael Duane Roberts, 57; Hice's son, Tyler Newman, 21; and Newman's girlfriend, Taylor Reiterman, 16. A mixed breed lab was also killed.

Authorities haven't identified the killer or determined a motive. Court documents indicate a recent history of domestic disturbances at the home in Largo, about 25 miles west of Tampa.

Roberts' family told the St. Petersburg Times that he let Hice, a breast cancer survivor, and her son move in about a year ago but that they didn't pay rent, invited people over and allowed Newman's girlfriend to move in. They were aware of tensions in the home but didn't suspect the situation would erupt into violence.

Officials could not say if there was a romantic relationship between Hice and Roberts.

"My dad was lonely," his daughter, Carolyn Roberts, 21, told the paper. "And he was always trying to help people."

On March 18, Newman sought an injunction against Roberts, saying the older man pulled a gun and cursed at him and slammed things down. He asked the court to prevent Roberts from going near him.

"I am afraid he might fight me or end up shoving or stabbing me," Newman wrote.

He said Roberts had a 12-gauge shotgun and rifles, but a circuit judge declined to issue a temporary injunction and the case was dismissed last week.

Roberts had filed similar petitions against Hice and her son. He said after the application for an injunction against him was dismissed, Hice threatened to enter his bedroom and stab him to death while he was sleeping.

"Her room is right next to mine and I fear she will really do it," Roberts stated in court documents.

Roberts said Hice kept a butcher knife on her night stand to intimidate him, and he accused her son of threatening to kill him as well. He said his house was in foreclosure and he feared being laid off from work.

"I have no money right now," he wrote in the petition.

Cecilia Barreda, a spokeswoman with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, said deputies responded to the home three times within the last month. She said Hice was the complainant in all three cases, and each was related to the ongoing domestic dispute. The last call was Sunday evening, the night before the bodies were found.

Hice said Roberts had moved all of her items outside her bedroom. Deputies told them it was a civil matter, Barreda said.