Victims of murder-suicide in Washington County identified
A standoff between police and a man who fatally shot his ex-wife and then himself forced the nighttime evacuation of more than a dozen residents of a normally quiet neighborhood in Washington County.
“It's absolutely shocking,” said neighbor Lou Haddad, 34, of South Strabane. He said gunfire hit his house twice.
Police said Harold E. McCutcheon Jr., 56, of Claysville entered the home of his ex-wife, Terry L. McCutcheon, 52, on Thursday, just before midnight, and shot her male companion, Richard Carly, 62, of Washington. Carly escaped to a neighbor's townhouse, police said, and is being treated in Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side.
Harold McCutcheon III said he last spoke to his mother on Sunday and his father about 9 p.m. Thursday. He said nothing in those conversations tipped him off to the violence that unfolded in the townhouse on Arrowhead Drive, not far from Tanger Outlets and The Meadows Racetrack & Casino.
“I had no idea,” said Harold McCutcheon III, who survives along with his sister, Tracy Moore of Claysville. “It's still kind of a big shock for us.”
The McCutcheons' deaths mark the end of what court documents describe as an 11-month pattern of harassment and stalking by Harold McCutcheon Jr. designed to “intimidate and humiliate” his ex-wife. No physical injuries were reported.
Claysville attorney Susan Moser declined to say whether her client feared for her life, citing attorney-client privilege.
“The complaint speaks for itself,” Moser said.
On Oct. 23, 2012, Harold McCutcheon Jr. took photographs of and yelled obscenities at his ex-wife and a companion as they left a movie theater, the complaint states.
Other harassing incidents included an encounter at The Meadows casino and numerous phone calls with threatening voicemails.
The latest incident reportedly occurred Sept. 14, again at the casino, when Harold McCutcheon Jr. allegedly stood behind his ex-wife and her companion for about 10 minutes as they played slots and then indicated he wanted to talk. Terry McCutcheon told him to call her lawyer and moved to a different aisle with her friend.
In 2000, court records show Washington County judges in two cases fined Harold McCutcheon Jr. and placed him on probation for simple assault, harassment and abuse.
On Thursday, police responded to Terry McCutcheon's home at 11:49 p.m. and later called the Washington Area SWAT team after hearing gunshots.
“Shots were fired from inside the residence while officers were on the scene,” Sgt. Mike Manfredi said.
Police evacuated homes in Strabane Manor, loading residents on a shuttle bus provided by The Meadows and transporting them to a nearby parking lot.
Shots fired from inside Terry McCutcheon's residence struck Haddad's home, with one round shattering the glass-front entry before ripping through dry-cleaning hanging at the bottom of a stairway. Police did not identify any weapons involved. No one was injured at Haddad's home.
Haddad said he awoke after midnight to police on loudspeakers, followed by gunshots. He said police fired tear gas into the woman's house and ordered Harold McCutcheon Jr. to surrender.
SWAT team members entered the residence just after 6 a.m. and found Terry McCutcheon in a bedroom with a gunshot wound to the chest, police said. Authorities found Harold McCutcheon Jr. nearby, dead from a gunshot wound to the head.
Medical responders airlifted Carly to Allegheny General Hospital. Hospital officials did not disclose his condition.
Officials at Anderson Equipment Co. in Bridgeville, where Carly works as a warehouseman, declined to comment.
Waste Management employees stopped by the scene to see if Harold McCutcheon Jr. was involved after he did not show up for work. They declined to comment.
Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or email@example.com.