Police rule Coloma double shooting an attempted murder-suicide

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By Melissa Hudson

COLOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The Coloma Township Police Department has determined that the double shooting on January 7 was an attempted murder- suicide.

According to police, they reached their conclusion after interviewing the surviving victim, Carey Burgess-Wagnon, evidence at the scene and the autopsy on Richard Merchant.

Burgess-Wagnon told police Merchant woke her early in the morning and accused her of having an affair. He attacked her and attempted to strangle her, police said.

Burgess-Wagnon said the incident may have been fueled by Merchant's use of methamphetamines earlier.

She said she curled up on the bedroom floor and he got the two guns. She said he threatened to kill her and himself.

She said he paced around the house and, believing she had called police, began shouting threats "towards the imaginary officers outside the home" according to the police press release.

Burgess-Wagnon said at one point Merchant fired shots out the bedroom window and two shots through the front door where he thought the police were.

Merchant went back intot he bedroom and fired one round at Burgess-Wagnon. It struck her in the hip.

He fired again at her, but missed.

Merchant then shot and killed himself, reports said.

When police arrived, Merchant had both guns in his possession. They traced and accounted for all of the rounds and bullets fired.

Police had never been called out to the house for domestic abuse, reports said.

Family members told police that Merchant had a long-time drug abuse problem and a history of suicide attempts.

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