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The Florida Times-Union
Mon, May 14, 2012
by JIM SCHOETTLER
Shailesh Sohoni would often see his two neighbors walking hand-in-hand and occasionally exchanging a hug and kiss outside their Jacksonville home most days around mid-morning.
Sohoni’s pleasant memories of Seymour and Lorre Lettman were scrambled forever Friday, just about the same time he’d usually see them seem so happy.
Sohoni said he heard several shots about 9:30 a.m., looked out the window of his home on Harpers Glen Court and saw Seymour Lettman stagger and collapse face down on his lawn across the street. Sohoni called 911 after hearing another shot and warned his East Hampton neighbors to stay indoors.
Police said Monday that a depressed Lorre Lettman, 64, shot at her husband while the pair were inside their home. Seymour Lettman, 73, grabbed the gun, tried to call 911 and got off a shot or two before his wife retrieved a second weapon. She shot him as he tried to get away and then shot herself.
Seymour Lettman was pronounced dead at Shands Jacksonville hospital, while his wife died inside their home. Investigators have closed the case as a murder-suicide, said Lt. Rob Schoonover of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Schoonover said Lorre Lettman had been taking anti-depressants and might have been despondent over a recent job loss. A neighbor said Lorre Lettman was in the mortgage industry.
There were no past reports of domestic violence in the home, which the couple had been renting for about a year. Neighbors said the couple were suffering from health and financial problems. They were apparently from the Boston area and had at least one child and were grandparents, neighbors said.
Sohoni, 43, said he was stumped by what occurred across the street in the high-end neighborhood near Deerwood, where reports of crime are rare.
“At the surface level, everything seemed normal,” Sohoni said. “I never thought this would happen.”
Neither did Jim Kelly, who also lived across the street and often saw the couple walking together.
Kelly said Seymour Lettman often seemed jovial, especially when it came to talking about the music he’d play karaoke-style at area assisted-living facilities. He said Lettman was especially fond of Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.
“He had a very nice voice,” Kelly said of Lettman. “It’s a real tragedy.”
Rajni Gupta, who lived next door to the Lettmans, said she also saw them out walking and never heard a cross word between them.
But Gupta said Lorre Lettman came to her about three weeks ago worried that her husband was having heart problems. She said the wife also suffered from broken bones and other medical issues.
“She always seemed a little stressed out,” Gupta said.
Sohoni said Monday he remained saddened by the loss of two people who seemed, at least to the eye, to get along so well.
“At their ages, what else do you have to achieve but to just enjoy your life and have peace?” Sohoni said.