Mound House Killings Ruled Murder-Suicide

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The killings of a Mound House couple was a murder-suicide by a woman who shot and wounded her 7-year-old autistic son before turning the gun on herself, Lyon County investigators said.

Sheriff's Lt. John Arndell said investigators pieced together what happened from autopsy reports and the account of Richard and Tamara Schmerber's 12-year-old daughter, who said she was told by her mother three times to stay in her room Tuesday morning as the shootings unfolded.

"She told detectives that sometime around 7:18 a.m. she heard gunshots coming from the dining room," Arndell told the Nevada Appeal. "Her mother came to her door and told her to stay in her room."

The girl told investigators she heard more shots.

"Her mother returned to her door and told her again to stay in her room. She heard her brother calling to her mother, saying he couldn't get up, and crying," Arndell said.

Tamara Schmerber returned to her daughter's door a third time, and told her that her father was on the floor and that she had his gun, Arndell said.

When her mother went back to the dining room, the girl heard more shots, a pause, and one final gunshot.

Arndell said the girl stayed in her room until 8:54 a.m., when she went into the living room and called police.

"Her mother told her there was another person in the house, but she did not hear anybody else's voice," Arndell said.

An autopsy conducted Wednesday revealed Tamara Schmerber, 42, died of a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the right temple. Gunshot residue was found on her right hand.

Richard Schmerber, also 42, was killed by a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.

The boy was struck twice at close range in the thigh and shoulder. Arndell said the angle suggests he was facing away from his mother when he was shot.

The boy remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition at Washoe Medical Center in Reno.

The father's body was found in the kitchen and investigators speculate he may have been pouring a cup of coffee when he was shot. Tamara Schmerber was found lying on her back near the master bedroom door.

When investigators moved her body, they discovered her husband's revolver, which he owned as an armored-car driver for Loomis Fargo & Co.

"No evidence was recovered that would suggest a third adult person in the residence," Arndell said.

Investigators said the couple had severe financial problems.

The couple's older daughter, who also is autistic, was at school during the shootings, police said. The children are being cared for by their grandparents, Arndell said.


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