The Havre de Grace man who shot his wife to death before taking his own life Friday had called 911 two weeks earlier after she attempted suicide, according to police, who committed the woman to a local hospital for mental health reasons.
According to a report released by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office at The Dagger’s request, John Preston, 53, called 911 shortly before 5 p.m. on April 7 from his home on the 100 block of Northway Drive in the Webster Village community just outside Havre de Grace.
Preston told deputies arriving on scene that his wife, Frances, 50, had, “flipped out and tried to cut herself with a kitchen knife,” according to the report. Preston said his wife was diagnosed with schizophrenia and had been on medication for the condition.
As a result of “her erratic behavior and her attempt to cut her wrists,” Frances Preston was transported to Harford Memorial Hospital and admitted under an “Emergency Commitment,” a process used to involuntary take a person into a health care facility against their will.
Just over two weeks later, according to a police, John Preston killed his wife with a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun in the living room of their home, before moving into a bedroom and turning the weapon on himself. The bodies were discovered shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday by John Preston’s parents, who alerted authorities.
According to the report, officers found Frances Preston sitting in a chair in the home’s living room, dead of a gunshot wound to the head. John Preston was found in the nearby bedroom. A suicide note was not found at the scene.
Following the shootings, investigators found a variety of medications among the couple’s effects, including oxycodone, a painkiller; glyburide, used to treat type-2 diabetes; zyprexa, used to treat bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia; carbamazepine, an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug; and fluvoxamine, an antidepressant.
At the time of his death, John Preston faced a DUI charge stemming from a January 21 incident. A pre-trial conference in the case had been scheduled for May 6.