Original article no longer available
The Washington Times
Author: Arlo Wagner
May 25, 1993
Until he pulled a shotgun from his garment bag yesterday, Carole Joan Campbell thought her estranged husband had come by to drop off red roses as a farewell gift before leaving for California.
Startled and frightened by the gun, Mrs. Campbell, 45, fled into the hallway of the Montgomery County school administration building on Hungerford Drive in Rockville.
Then she heard a shot, police said later, reconstructing the case.
Officers called to the scene at 10:11 a.m. found Robert Louis Campbell minutes later, dead of a 20-gauge shotgun blast in the head. His body lay between a desk and a copying machine in the office of student affairs.
“Mr. Campbell had a history of depression and was on medication,” said Montgomery County police spokeswoman Ann Evans. She said the medication was believed to be Prozac.
There was a suicide note in the roses on Mrs. Campbell’s desk, but police did not release its contents.
Mrs. Campbell told police she had no hint Mr. Campbell had become so depressed as to consider killing himself. Saturday was his 46th birthday, but police did not know if he had celebrated it.
They said Mr. Campbell had been employed in the personnel office for Amtrak but had told his wife he might take a job in California.
Police searched Mr. Campbell’s car in the parking lot, but Mrs. Evans said none of its contents suggested a further explanation for his depression or his suicide.
The Campbells had separated last month, police said. About the same time, Mrs. Campbell and a son and daughter moved from their house in the 15700 block of Cherry Blossom Lane along Darnestown Road southwest of Gaithersburg, a former neighbor said.
After the shooting yesterday, school officials called the 12-year-old daughter from classes in Ridgeview Middle School and the 15-year-old son at Quince Orchard High School.
Since moving, Mr. Campbell had no fixed address. He apparently had been living with friends and last week at the Courtyard Marriott northwest of Rockville, police said.
He walked unnoticed yesterday with the rose bouquet and garment bag into a southeast entrance of the sprawling school board and administration building, where about 500 people work.
He went up a short flight of stairs and down a hallway to the first office on the right, the office of student affairs, where his wife was alone, police said.
“He arrived to say he was coming to say goodbye,” Mrs. Evans said Mrs. Campbell told police.
“When she saw the shotgun, she ran out of the office and then she heard the gun go off,” Mrs. Evans said.
The shotgun blast, which was muffled by the hollow tile walls of the former school building, was heard in the adjacent legal services office, where Mrs. Campbell fled and police were called, said school spokesman Brian Porter.
As usual, there was one security assistant on duty at the time.
Mr. Porter said the incident raises the prospect of increased security, but that the size of the building and its at least five entrances make tight security difficult.
“Never before has anything like this happened in this building, never anything like this in the school system,” Mr. Porter said.
Mrs. Campbell has worked in the student affairs office for seven years. Mr. Porter said she “is well known and well liked.”
Record Number: P00866140011