Another case of domestic violence exploded into murder and suicide Thursday, making this the worst year for murder in Spokane history.
A 33-year-old man shot and killed his girlfriend while she held their daughter outside their North Side home before taking his own life.
The shooting in the 1400 block of West Dalton brought the number of murders committed in Spokane this year to 20. Nearly half of the record number of killings have been blamed on domestic violence, police said.
Relatives and neighbors identified the latest murder victim at Denise Chapman, 30. She was shot in the head by a man identified as Dan Foote, who then shot himself in the head.
Both died at the scene. The toddler was not injured.
About 1:30 p.m., witnesses saw Foote, a mechanic, pull up in front of his mother’s house, which is directly behind the Dalton Avenue home he rented with Chapman.
He lifted a rifle out of his trunk and walked between two houses into his back yard, neighbors said. One shot rang out, followed a few seconds later by another.
“We called 911 and went over there and I saw her laying there,” said Cody Jones, who was on a nearby front porch with friends. “Their baby was with her. She wasn’t crying.”
Chapman lay in the driveway, her hair matted with blood and her arm draped across her daughter.
Police at first thought the woman still was alive, but paramedics concluded she was dead. A hunting rifle was found near Foote’s body in the back yard.
Foote’s mother, Ann Foote, ran into the yard and picked up the child, yelling to neighbors, “he shot them all,” said Sherry Ray, who lives across the street on Dalton.
“That baby was just full of blood,” said Ray, who has been friends with Ann Foote for 20 years. “I tried to wash it off with soapy water but I couldn’t pry (Ann Foote’s) hands loose … I could not get Ann to loosen up her grip on the baby.”
Relatives and neighbors said they had no idea what led to the shootings.
Dan Foote had recently taken a new job at a North Side body shop, a move he and Denise Chapman seemed pleased about, neighbors said.
The couple moved into the yellow, two-story in October, agreeing to work on the house for less rent, landlord Vy Hunter said.
Dan Foote helped paint the place, fixed some plumbing problems in the laundry room and was planning to work on the roof, Hunter said. She rented the three-bedroom house to the couple for $400 a month.
“It’s such a surprise to me because I just talked to him two nights ago,” Hunter said. “He said everything was fine. There was no mention of any trouble.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo Map of area
The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Bonnie Harris Staff writer Staff writers Jess Walter and Kelly McBride contributed to this report.