Estranged couple killed in apparent murder-suicide

By SONYA ROBERTS-WOODS/Publisher

  After an initial call regarding a possible fire, Mount Pleasant Police Department officers soon discovered the lifeless bodies of two individuals–the victims of an apparent murder-suicide.

  In the early morning hours of June 28, officers responded to a report of possible shots fired at the Mount Pleasant Assisted Living, located at 2013 N. Edwards Ave. Once on the scene, officers found estranged husband and wife, Mark Sutherland and Michelle Sutherland, both age 51 of Mount Pleasant, deceased in a common area. It is believed the husband killed his wife with a shotgun before then turning the gun on himself.

   According to police reports, Michelle Sutherland worked for the nursing facility and was preparing breakfast for residents. In fact, burnt biscuits in the oven first prompted the fire alarm to go off. With the local fire department en route, a 911 call then came in regarding gunshots heard.

   “It is our understanding that the wife had been staying at a safe place at the time of this incident,” Mount Pleasant Police Chief Wayne Isbell explained. “As far as we can tell, there had been no previous criminal charges associated with this couple, but this was definitely domestic in nature.”

   While no nursing facility resident or employee witnessed the actual altercation or saw the shootings, the female, shot multiple times, was seen lying on the ground before police arrived.

   Police officials have now requested a warrant to search the victims’ electronic devices including phones and computers in an effort to possibly determine a motive for the tragic, domestic violence incident.