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Point Breeze couple died in murder-suicide, police say

| Monday, Aug. 27, 2001, 12:00 p.m.

Clarence L. Forston of Point Breeze called his mother early Sunday to tell her he had shot his wife, Pittsburgh police said.

By the time police and paramedics arrived at the couple's first-floor apartment in the 6900 block of McPherson Boulevard, they found Clarence Forston, 46, dead on the floor and his wife, Toni, 42, dead on the couch, city police Lt. Thomas Stangrecki said.

The couple's young daughter was staying with relatives when the shootings occurred, police said.

After Allegheny County Coroner Cyril H. Wecht's investigators talked with police and pathologists conducted autopsies, the deaths were ruled a murder-suicide.

'Based on the conversation (Clarence Forston) had with his mother, we believe that he shot his wife and then himself,' Stangrecki said.

Stangrecki said the Forstons had been having domestic problems and relatives told WPXI-TV the couple was in the process of getting a divorce.

Stangrecki said Forston called his mother sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. to say that he had shot his wife. Forston's mother, who lives in the Hill District, immediately called other relatives and went to the apartment with them.

Forston's mother and the others received no answer at the front door so they walked around the side of the building, peered in through a living room window and saw Clarence Forston lying on the floor in a puddle of blood, Stangrecki said.

Police and paramedics forced their way in through the front door and found Clarence Forston dead of a gunshot wound to the neck and his wife dead of gunshot wounds to the head, neck and trunk.

A handgun was found on the floor near Clarence Forston, Stangrecki said.

Stangrecki and officers from the Zone Six station which patrols the neighborhood said they don't know of any prior domestic complaints at the apartment.

Forston was not known as a troublemaker and had no history of arrests, police said.

Neighbors said the Forstons moved into the apartment about a month ago and said they didn't know them other than to say hello.

The neighbors - who asked not to be identified - said they learned about the shootings when police and paramedics arrived and other neighbors began to call to find out what was going on.

The couple's daughter was not identified by police but neighbors said she appeared to be only 3 or 4 years old.

Plastic toy letters spell out the name 'Forston' in orange, red, lime and purple on the metal mailbox outside the apartment door. A stroller can be seen sitting inside the front door.

Michael Hasch can be reached at mhasch@tribweb.com or (412) 320-7820.

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