Tuesday, April 19, 2011

'Daddy had a big gun,' Fort Pierce toddler who witnessed murder-suicide tells police



A 22-year-old pregnant woman and her 48-year-old mother were shot dead on Friday by the younger woman's live-in boyfriend, who then committed suicide, an initial police investigation has determined.

A 3-year-old girl, the child of the younger woman and the man, was the only person found alive when police arrived. A responding officer heard her say, "Daddy had a big gun," according to the police report. The child was uninjured.

"The child was in the house when the shooting occurred and unfortunately did witness this horrific incident," Fort Pierce police Sgt. Dennis McWilliams said in an email on Monday.

McWilliams, a police spokesman, said that the state Department of Children & Families had taken custody of the girl.

Investigators received a phone from the home on Quincy Avenue about 7 p.m. on Friday by a woman believed to be either Stephanie Carrier or her mother, Robin Carrier. Police arrived to find those two women and Christopher Covington, 25, all of the same address, dead with gunshot wounds to their heads.

Investigators believe that Covington became enraged and shot both women inside the home, then shot himself in the home's garage. Police said the motive for the shootings is still under investigation.

Police arrested Covington on Jan. 11 and charged him with aggravated domestic battery on a pregnant woman, after witnesses reported seeing him hitting Stephanie Carrier in the parking lot of the Fort Pierce Kmart store and, later, in a green Ford Explorer that Covington drove from the scene with Stephanie Carrier as a passenger.

Covington reportedly fled the vehicle on foot when police stopped it on Colonial Road. The couple's 3-year-old daughter and Stephanie Carrier, who had a bloody lower lip, remained in the truck.

According to the police report, Stephanie Carrier reportedly told officers that she and Covington had been together, on and off, for four years, that they had a 3-year-old daughter, and that she was currently three months pregnant with his child.

Stephanie Carrier refused to complete a victim statement, the police report noted. It also recorded that Stephanie Carrier told officers that Covington had never before hit her, but that Robin Carrier told police Covington had hit her daughter on at least one prior occasion.

Police apprehended Covington and charged him after a foot chase that ended at the intersection of Mayflower Road and Mayflower Lane. Asked by officers why he had struck Stephanie Carrier in front of their daughter and other witnesses, Covington reportedly said it was because she had been unfaithful to him.

On Friday, a neighborhood witness told police that she had heard five shots coming from the house.

The apparent double-murder and suicide remains under investigation.

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