“We’re all just wondering ‘Why?’, said Todd Pfeifer, chief of Conneaut Lake Regional Police. “He was a good employee — we saw no signs (of trouble).”
A murder-suicide at a Meadville apartment early Wednesday morning left two dead — a young woman who was behavioral therapist at a Meadville facility for troubled youth and a young man who had recently started working as a Conneaut Lake police officer. It also has left the woman’s two young children, who were in the apartment at the time, without their mother.
Police were called to the Nobilee R. Forro residence at 6501/2 Baldwin St. at 3:18 a.m. after neighbors reported shots being fired.
When officers arrived, they found Forro, 31, fatally shot once in the head and Michael D. Trout, 26, of Meadville, in the stairwell to Forro’s upstairs apartment, said Chief David Stefanucci of Meadville Police. Trout had a gunshot wound to his head, but was still alive, Stefanucci said.
Trout was rushed to Meadville Medical Center where he died at 3:56 a.m., according to Scott Schell, Crawford County deputy coroner.
Forro’s death was ruled a homicide while Trout’s death was ruled a suicide, Schell said. No autopsies were scheduled and the remains were released Wednesday to area funeral homes, Schell said.
“There was evidence it was a murder-suicide,” Schell said.
However, police still were trying to determine exactly what had happened.
“We don’t know what led to this,” said Stefanucci, though a preliminary investigation by officers found there was some type of argument earlier between the couple. However, Both Stefanucci and neighbors said there weren’t previous calls for police to go to the apartment.
Ryan Rutter, 18, who lives with his mother and her boyfriend in the downstairs apartment at 650 Baldwin St., had his own theory on why the incident may have taken place.
Rutter, who was interviewed by police, said he believes Trout’s interest in a relationship was turned away by Forro.
“He sent her roses all the time, but she ignored him,” Rutter said in an interview Wednesday afternoon with a Meadville Tribune reporter.
Rutter, 18, said he was just laying down to sleep when he heard a commotion in the hall.
“I heard her scream ‘No! Don’t do this! My kids are here! Don’t do this!’,” Rutter said before hearing shots.
Rutter said he grabbed a knife and went out into the hall to aid Forro when he saw the fateful scene.
“I saw her dead and that he had just shot himself,” Rutter said. “It scared the hell out me.”
Trout went to the Forro residence and shot out the glass in her front door to gain entry, Stefanucci said. Trout then shot Forro fatally once in the head after she came downstairs before Trout turned the gun on himself, Stefanucci said.
Forro’s two young children, ages 11 and 9, were in the apartment, but weren’t harmed physically, Stefanucci said. The children now are being cared for by their father, Stefanucci said.
Two guns were recovered at the scene near Trout — a 9-mm pistol and a .22-caliber pistol, Schell said. The 9-mm was used to fire the fatal shots as three 9-mm shell casings were found at the scene, Schell said.
Forro had worked at Bethesda Children’s Home as a behavioral therapist for the past four years while Trout was hired in May as a police officer by Conneaut Lake Regional Police.
Chief Pfeifer of Conneaut Lake Regional Police said Trout was hired as an officer for the seven-man, one K-9 officer department May 19 and began working on the streets June 1. Pfeifer said the department was taking the matter hard and declined additional comment.
Gene Wisinski, chief executive of Bethesda, said the staff and children at Bethesda, too, were having a rough time Wednesday dealing with Forro’s death.
“There’s no easy way to get through the sorrow and the heartache,” Wisinski said. “She would provide emotional support to our kids. She was good at it. She was a joy to work with.”
Forros’ neighbors, too, said they’ll miss her.
“She was nice,” Rutter said. “She didn’t talk a lot, but she helped out my mom several times.
Donna Gilson, a next-door neighbor on Baldwin Street, remembers Forro as caring for people.
“She was very nice,” Gilson said. “She’d do favors and be there for everyone. She always had a kind word.”
Funeral arrangements for Forro are incomplete at this time and are under the direction of Stephen P. Mizner Funeral Home of Meadville.
Funeral arrangements for Trout are under the direction of Robert W. Waid Funeral Home of Meadville and will be private and at the convenience of the family.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.