Cops: Wife attempts murder-suicide — (The Times Herald)

SSRI Ed note: Woman, distraught when husband moves out, gets "treatment", buys a gun, shoots herself and husband in murder-suicide attempt, she survives.

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By DAN SOKIL for The Times Herald

 A murder-suicide attempt by an Upper Gwynedd woman on Friday resulted in the death of her husband and has left her in critical condition, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said Monday.

According to the DA’s office, Joseph Cressman, 60, died and Cathy Cressman, 57, remains in critical condition after the shooting.

Cathy Cressman pulled the trigger on her husband and then shot herself, Ferman said.

The statement, released by the DA’s office and signed by Ferman and Upper Gwynedd Police Chief David Duffy, said Upper Gwynedd police and the county Detective Bureau learned that the couple, married for 37 years, had recently become estranged and that Joseph had stopped living at the house in the 700 block of Collins Road.

Mr. Cressman’s departure from the family home caused emotional difficulties for Mrs. Cressman which required treatment.

Mrs. Cressman had recently stated that if she could not have her husband, she would take a gun and shoot him, the statement from Ferman’s office said.

On Friday, according to the statement, that is exactly what happened: Cathy Cressman purchased a .38 revolver, met her husband for dinner, and just before 6:45 p.m. Friday, shot her husband in the head and then herself as they sat in a pickup truck in the driveway.

Police found the couple, both bleeding from gunshot wounds to the head, in the truck in the driveway, and a family member who lives at the home had called 911 and found a handgun in Cathy’s lap when she was discovered, according to the statement.

Joseph was taken to Lansdale Hospital, where he died a short time later; Cathy was taken to Abington Memorial Hospital, where she underwent surgery to remove a bullet from her head and remains in critical condition, the statement said.

An autopsy performed Saturday by the Montgomery County Coroner’s office revealed, and forensic pathologist Dr. Ericka Williams ruled, the cause of Joseph’s death to be a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death to be homicide, the statement said.

North Penn School District spokesperson Christine Liberaski confirmed that the two were district employees, Cathy for 36 years and Joseph for five, but would not comment further on the shooting.

The two reportedly drove school buses.

According to neighbors, the Cressmans were a couple that the Upper Gwynedd Police Department knew.

That’s because, according to those neighbors, the pair had at least two dogs that frequently ran into the street, and which police had been called to help retrieve before.

Joel actually thought that’s why the police were here Friday night, until I heard about what had happened. It was kind of like,  “Oh, they’re at the Cressmans, their dogs must be out again”, but that’s not what it turned out to be, said one neighbor who asked not to be identified.

Upper Gwynedd Police had referred all calls asking for information on the shooting to the District Attorney’s Office.

Neighbors of the Cressmans recalled the Friday night incident.

“JœI was at the grill on my porch, and didn’t hear anything but saw the flashing of the police car lights. I turned around and saw a gray pickup truck in their driveway and the VMSC paramedics took those two, Mr. and Mrs. Cressman, out of the pickup truck and put them into ambulances,” said a neighbor who asked not to be identified.

“JœI went to school with their older son, so he’s my age, about 28 or so, but I saw someone younger outside the house that night, I think that was the other son, kind of kneeling on the driveway and pointing toward the truck for police”, said another neighbor.

Neither neighbor heard the shooting because Friday was a rainy night with thunderstorms, but friends of the Cressmans reportedly had told one neighbor that Cathy Cressman had talked recently about possibly purchasing a gun.