July 23, 2010 in City

Records say DeMeerleer was suicidal

By The Spokesman-Review

(Full-size photo)

The man who fatally shot his ex-fiancée and her 9-year-old son in Spokane Valley this week had been suicidal in the past and owned several guns, new court documents say.

Jan R. DeMeerleer’s brother-in-law, John F. Schweitzer, told police DeMeerleer “is bipolar and you never know what he is going to do,” according to a warrant used to search DeMeerleer’s home at 8324 E. Briant Lane on Sunday.

“Schweitzer said that he knows Jan DeMeerleer has been suicidal in the past,” according to the warrant prepared by Spokane County sheriff’s Detective Michael Drapeau and filed this week in District Court. “Schweitzer told (detectives) that if DeMeerleer has not committed suicide ‘he soon will.’ ”

DeMeerleer, 39, was found dead in his garage from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Schweitzer did not return a phone call Thursday.

DeMeerleer’s ex-fiancée, Rebecca L. Schiering, had been found shot to death in a hallway near the kitchen of her duplex at 622 N. Ella Rd. about 3 a.m. Sunday. Phillip Schiering, who was shot in the head, died at a hospital later that day.

A divorced father of a 9-year-old girl, DeMeerleer worked as a project manager for Advanced Input Systems in Coeur d’Alene, but lost his job a few months ago and recently purchased a carwash, Schiering’s family said.

Schiering and her sons had lived with DeMeerleer at his Briant Lane home until about two months ago, Schiering’s 17-year-old son, Brian, told detectives. Neighbors said domestic violence prompted Schiering to leave DeMeerleer. But he apparently was still involved with the family – Schiering’s neighbor on Ella Road said DeMeerleer had dropped Phillip off at the home about a week before the rampage.

Then on Sunday, the 17-year-old called 911 about 2:49 a.m. and said DeMeerleer had tried to cut his throat and “attempted to kill” his mother. The teen found his mother’s body while on the phone with 911, according to the search warrant.

The teen said Schiering had yelled from her bedroom after he awoke to DeMeerleer standing over him with a large knife. She approached DeMeerleer, who put the knife into a sheath and pulled a revolver from a holster. The teen said DeMeerleer had gone target shooting with the revolver in the past and said “it was the biggest one you could buy.” The teen ran from the home before he heard two gunshots, then saw DeMeerleer leave in a silver car.

A sheriff’s deputy found Phillip’s twin brother unharmed in a bedroom with bunk beds. Phillip was in the top bunk bleeding from a gunshot wound to his head.

Detectives seized two bullets from Schiering’s home – one from the top bunk bed and another from a wall.

A knife and sheath, a set of keys to Schiering’s clothing store, a .357-caliber revolver and a gun holster were seized from DeMeerleer’s home. Two bullets were removed from a garage wall.

Detectives also seized a handwritten note, but Spokane County sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan said he does not believe DeMeerleer left a suicide note.

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