A murder-suicide in Stone Mountain, Georgia, occurred early Tuesday morning in a home on the 700 block of Wetherborn Place just moments after police officials left, according to WSBTV.
On the night of Monday, August 15, 35-year-old Shayla Sullivan – who works as a paralegal – called DeKalb County police, complaining that her husband, Clifford Elston, 34, was threatening to kill himself.
She also informed the 911 dispatcher that Elston had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and he recently stopped taking his medication.
However, when responding officers arrived at the scene, Sullivan informed them that everything was okay and Elston was making plans to leave the house for the night.
Officers spoke with Elston, as well as his 68-year-old mother-in-law, Linda ward, and they both confirmed that everything was okay.
DeKalb County police left the residence, believing that the couple had resolved the issue.
The following day at around 12:40 a.m., police received another call from them home, but this time, it was about a shooting.
After arriving at the scene, police officials found the couple dead in the garage from an apparent murder-suicide, just hours after Sullivan celebrated her birthday.
It appears that after the officers left the home, Elson fatally shot his wife in the back before shooting his mother-in-law in the foot and turning the gun on himself, ending his own life.
The Georgia couple had two children, aged 13 and 14, who were in the home when the murder-suicide took place, but according to Fox 5 Atlanta, police officials do not believe they witnessed the incident as they were discovered in another room.
Paramedics at the scene transported Ward to a local hospital to treat the injuries to her foot, and doctors say she is expected to make a full recovery.
The murder-suicide in DeKalb County rocked the community, causing some to question why great people leave this earth in such a horrific manner.
“Tomorrow is truly not promised,” said Facebook user Eddie Ero Rivera. “Another example of this has been shown. You had a beautiful soul and I’m sorry that this happened to you, right after your birthday no less.”
“Cherish those you have, and don’t take out your anger on those who don’t deserve it.”
Clifford Elston fatally shot his wife and then himself in the garage of their Stone Mountain, Ga., home Tuesday. https://t.co/wl4Sb6dzWQ— The Trace (@teamtrace) August 17, 2016
James Clark, who appears to be the victim’s brother, wrote a poignant message via Facebook, which stated as follows.
“I still can’t wrap my head around why my big sister had to leave us so soon. We’ve created a bond no one could break and to hear you’re gone, I can’t begin to stomach it. I love you, Shayla.
“Watch over me and the rest of the fam until I see you again. Heart bigger than anything. The last words I said to you was Happy Birthday big sister and I love you. And your reply was a [heart symbol]. You didn’t deserve this! You’re missed by everyone! Rest in peace.”
Following the Stone Mountain murder-suicide, the victim’s nephew, Semione Terrell, created a Go Fund Me account to raise money that “will be used for counseling and any other needs for the couple’s children as they lost both parents in one night,” according to the site.
“Not only did this man take away a vital part of their lives, but he left a kid to be a man. Cvont’e is the youngest of the two kids and has been battling with autism.
“Any donations will be greatly appreciated and a blessing to this family.”
“Whether it’s a like, a share, or a monetary donation whatever your heart leads you to do or give, even the smallest act can make a difference, even in this tragedy,” said Trenton Register, who is the victim’s relative.
It was not immediately made clear what prompted the argument between the couple that led to a murder-suicide, but an investigation is ongoing.
[Image via Facebook/Shayla Sullivan-Elston]