Rowlett judge's son doesn't know why dad shot her, himself
12:00 AM CDT on Wednesday, June 23, 2010
By IAN McCANN / The Dallas Morning News
Much like those who knew his parents, Dustin Loveland still doesn't know why.
Why would his father shoot his mother and then turn the gun on himself? Why, when they had what by all accounts was a happy 28-year marriage?
"Stunned" is the word he uses for the reaction in Rowlett. He has heard from close family friends, as well as those who knew his mother, Municipal Judge Belinda Loveland, through her work as a strong advocate for at-risk youths.
Dustin Loveland said his father had been treated for depression several years ago and still went to see a doctor regularly.
"All we can think is, something deep down … something triggered, and he was no longer in control of what he was doing," he said.
Even Sunday morning, the son said nothing seemed out of the ordinary with Richard Loveland. The two spoke over the phone twice Father's Day morning. The conversation was like their other weekly calls, including talking about plans for the week ahead. Nothing raised any flags, Dustin Loveland said.
That changed about 5 p.m. Sunday, when Dustin Loveland, an orthopedic surgery resident in Galveston, got a text message from his father.
"He said he loved her [his wife]," Dustin Loveland said. "He loved me and my wife."
Richard Loveland, who worked for a Wylie technology manufacturer, wrote that he and his wife had been having marital problems. He said he had killed her and passed along the code to their safe.
Police said Tuesday the case is definitely a murder-suicide but the investigation continues.
"It was very clear … what his intentions were," Dustin Loveland said. "That text message, that was a very loving thing. It puts me at peace that in his worst hour, he was thinking of her [Dustin's wife, Kimberly] and me."
He called his father's cellphone, but there was no answer. So he called Rowlett police, who went to the home in the 3200 block of Sunrise Drive, where they were unable to get any response from inside.
As news has spread, so has community reaction. Two families closest to the Lovelands have been constant companions with Dustin Loveland and his wife. Both of his parents, Dustin Loveland said Tuesday, were well-liked and entertained friends at their lakeside home just about every weekend.
And people throughout the city are recalling Belinda Loveland's influence on Rowlett's youths though the Reaching Our Community's Kids program she founded in 2003. The program supports as many as 150 at-risk students a year.
Services for Richard Loveland are at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Lake Pointe Church chapel in Rockwall; services for Belinda Loveland will follow at 12:30 p.m. at Lake Pointe's Pier 419 youth chapel.
The city and the Pray Rowlett fellowship of ministers will host a vigil in honor of Belinda Loveland and other victims of domestic violence at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the Rowlett Chamber of Commerce lawn, 3910 Main St.
A memorial fund set up in Belinda Loveland's honor will benefit the ROCK program.
"She was naturally drawn to kids because that's where she could make an impact," Kimberly Loveland said. "ROCK has to keep going."