Murder-suicide tragedy rare, but followed pattern

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The domestic violence case that ended in the murder-suicide of two IMPD officers reveals a serious danger for police officers that goes far beyond the risks they face each day in the line of duty.

In some ways, it is almost an occupational hazard. A stressful job solving everyone else's problems and you may not admit your own.

A home security camera was rolling as IMPD Sgt. Ryan Anders drove up to his ex-wife's house. Before SWAT could help, he killed veteran Officer Kim Carmack and then himself.

"Sadness. Immediately I thought very, very sad," said Bryan Byers, who works with police and teaches at Ball State. "These are rare events. Murder-suicide is generally a very rare event."

He says the IMPD case fits the pattern. The use of a gun, the troubled intimate relationship and the shooting occurring at home is true in 80 percent of cases.

"They don't just happen out of the blue. These events typically occur after long series of events," Byers said.

Anders and Carmack were having serious trouble for months. Since mid-February, IMPD started monitoring their whereabouts. Because of their behavior on the job due to their personal problems, both were on administrative leave. They had to surrender their police weapons.

On March 29, she got a protective order against him.

"There were issues that we know for a fact that were challenging for us as an agency," said IMPD Chief Rick Hite.

The couple received counseling, but spiraled downward.

"There's a stigma associated with receiving assistance for interpersonal problems, marital problems," Byers said.

He applauds IMPD's assistance programs, but says many officers just won't ask for help. They feel "they can handle just about anything that's thrown at them. And that's because they handle everything that's thrown at them on a day-to-day basis when they're working," he said.

"They also need to understand they're human that they sometimes need help."