In an apparent domestic dispute, a Redland Elementary schoolteacher and one of her daughters has been killed by her estranged husband, 50-year-old Robert James Orsi. According to the Wetumpka Herald, the local sheriff’s office got a 911 call from a neighbor of the Orsi’s who claims she heard gunshots. The house was on fire as the police arrived. As they approached the house, they found the body of 44-year-old Charlene “Charley” Orsi across the front threshold of the home.
The oldest daughter, 13, escaped to a neighbors house and two of their three triplets were transported to the local hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds. Police found the remains of the third triplet in the rubble of the home. Robert James Orsi was also found dead at the scene of “a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” The surviving girls are in stable condition, although Elmer County Sheriff Bill Franklin says “one of the two may need additional surgery.”
Charlene Orsi reportedly filed for divorce after nearly 24 years of marriage in June, citing “such a complete incompatibility of temperament” and requesting “sole custody of the couple’s four children, child support, alimony and an ‘equitable division’ of the parties’ property.” However, Robert Orsi’s lawyer denies any claim of a “breakdown” or that attempts to rekindle their relationship were “impractical.”
When asked about the incident, Sheriff Franklin said “We are certain that the wife died from her gunshot wounds. We feel pretty sure that the husband killed his daughter and then shot himself, but with the smoke and heat of a fire involved, we have to wait on Forensic Sciences to be certain.”
According to The Daily Mail, Robert Orsi had been a “Senior Master Sgt at the Maxwell Air Base in Montgomery.” He and Charlene met while in the Air Force and married in 1994. It is believed that Robert Orsi opened fire on his family, then set the home on fire before shooting himself. Police are currently looking into allegations that he may have been using illegal drugs.
“What we were being told is the catalyst of (the divorce filing) was illegal drug use from the father,” Sheriff Franklin said.
He stated that people in the local community and even his deputies were having trouble making sense of the incident, according to AL.com.
“Who would’ve thought a retired military fellow would try to kill his triples and kill his wife and then take his own life?”
He also noted that the names of the underage victims will not be released until the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences concludes their investigation.