OKANOGAN, Wash. – An Okanogan woman shot and killed a woman with whom she had a romantic relationship, then later died, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, investigators say.
A third woman shot during the Thursday evening incident in the north-central Washington town is listed in satisfactory condition today at a Spokane hospital.
The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office said Shelly L. Payton, 42, shot and killed Rene J. Menard, 49, at the home they shared at 522 N. Second Ave. in Okanogan.
Payton and Menard had a tenuous romantic relationship that had ended some time ago, neighbors told The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle. Earlier in the day Menard told Payton she wanted to move out, neighbors told the newspaper.
Payton arrived at the house around 5 p.m. and confronted Menard, who was there with Catrina M. Fling, 39, a Riverside, Wash., resident and friend of the couple.
Payton and Menard argued inside the house, then Payton walked out, went to her vehicle and grabbed a 40-caliber semi-automatic pistol, and came back inside, Sheriff Frank T. Rogers said today.
When Fling began to dial 911, Payton shot her in the lower abdomen, and Fling collapsed on the floor, Rogers said. The injured woman still was able to reach 911 dispatchers to report what was happening, he said.
It appears a struggle broke out between Payton and Menard when another shot was fired from Payton, Rogers said. The scene indicates Menard was holding on to Payton from behind and a single shot went through both women, he said.
Menard died at the scene and Payton later died at Mid-Valley Hospital in Omak, the sheriff said.
Neighbors said Payton has a teenage son who was at football practice at the time of the shooting.
Fling was airlifted to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, where the hospital this morning said she’s in satisfactory condition.
Detectives also are investigating a report from the McDonald’s in Omak that around 2 p.m. Thursday, Payton walked into the restaurant, pulled out a pistol, stuck it in the chest of a woman eating with her children, and pulled the trigger. The weapon was not loaded, according to witnesses, who said Payton stated the next time there would be bullets in the gun.
Law enforcement was not called at the time of that incident but were notified later, after restaurant managers heard about the shooting, the sheriff said.
Detectives are pulling security tapes from the McDonald’s and are looking for the woman involved to interview her.
Payton, who had a military background, and Fling both worked at Walmart, neighbors said. Menard was the manager at Caso’s grocery store and provided karaoke entertainment in the area.
Mike Kostic, manager of The Cariboo Inn, where Menard spun karaoke records, told the Chronicle, “I came back here and told them to shut the bar down,” he said. “We closed down early because nobody really wanted to work.”
The Cariboo turned into a makeshift memorial Thursday night as friends and family gathered to reflect on the day’s events.
“She was the nicest person I ever met,” Kostic said of Menard. “She just had a big heart. It’s really a shame. We were in shock. Nobody here really expected it.”