A neighbor hustling by with two children told the Mills she had heard
Robert James Toohey, 60, shot himself in the head with a revolver
after firing one shot at his live-in girlfriend, Shirley Franta, police
said late Friday.
Franta told police that Toohey was depressed, had been drinking
heavily and was talking about killing himself earlier in the day. Just
before Franta called police at 4:14 p.m., Toohey was playing with the
revolver and shot at her once, Franta told police. She ran from the home
and neighbors later heard another shot. Police later found Toohey lying
on a bed in a front bedroom, dead from what appeared to be a
self-inflicted shot to the head.
Police at the scene said an elderly woman was living with the couple.
The women were able to escape unharmed, Sgt. William Berry said after
police entered the home and found Toohey dead. Discovery of the man's
body came after more than two hours of drama in the culturally diverse
Northwest District neighborhood.
With a police barricade set up at the intersection of Pacific Avenue,
just two houses down, the Mills watched as a police special response team
arrived. The barricade was later moved to encompass their property, but
the Mills were allowed to stay outside the home they have rented for
eight years while a crowd of about 30 people was moved behind the line of
yellow tape stretching across the street. Some of the bystanders watched
police through binoculars while others quietly speculated about what was
Franta stayed at the scene with police, describing their home's
interior so that when officers entered, they would know what to expect,
Berry said. About 40 officers were at the scene.
At 6:30 p.m., more than two hours after the first police units
arrived, officers wearing helmets and body shields climbed on the sides
of an armored vehicle parked in the intersection of Frederic Street and
Pacific Avenue and rounded the block, ready to go into the home.
Fifteen minutes later, police announced the standoff was over and that
neighbors could return to their homes. The officers had found the man's
"We need to find out why he did this," Berry said. "We regret that he
took his life, but we are glad no one else was injured."
Officers and detectives planned to spend the rest of the evening
talking to neighbors. Berry could not confirm if police previously had
been called to the couple's home to intervene in domestic disputes.
The Mills, like many residents on the street of older single-story
homes, were flabbergasted.
"This is a quiet neighborhood. Nothing happens here," Jane Mills said
as the last rays of afternoon light were disappearing.