Police believe domestic violence in Shoreview left 2 dead, 2 wounded


More details are emerging about a shooting at a Shoreview home on Tuesday morning that left two dead and two injured.

Investigators say that they believe Johnny Simpson, 65, killed Minneapolis lawyer Nancy Sullivan, 57, and then killed himself. They believe the two had been in a relationship. The two lived at the home in the 5900 block of Grotto Street.

Nancy Sullivan

Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office investigators have not detailed exactly what happened at the house that led to the shootings Tuesday, but they did confirm that Sullivan had been in the process of moving out, and Simpson is the only suspected shooter. Officials reportedly recovered a handgun.

Two others were wounded: Katie Fay, 29, who was listed in critical condition, and Tony Brown, 28, believed to be Fay's boyfriend. Fay is Sullivan's daughter, the Star Tribune reports.

The Star Tribune notes that Sullivan's death could be the seventh metro-area killing of a woman by a boyfriend or husband this year. The Star Tribune dug out court records from Simpson’s 2002 divorce, in which his ex-wife accuses him of domestic abuse and bullying behavior.

An associate with the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women tells the Pioneer Press that before Tuesday's shooting there had already been at least 14 domestic violence homicides in the state this year. That compares to 18 in all of last year.

An official with the Domestic Abuse Project tells FOX that women are at the greatest risk of domestic violence when they are leaving their partner. Carol Arhtur suggests women seek help from an advocacy group or police if they plan to leave a partner who has threatened them or has ready access to a weapon.

Nancy Sullivan was a partner with the law firm Barnes & Thornburg, which issued a statement expressing its sadness over her death.

Her company bio notes that Sullivan was active in community organizations, including Pathways to Success, Minnesota; Hope Family Community Services; and the Cristo Rey High School Mentorship Program. She was the pro bono legal services coordinator for the Minneapolis Barnes & Thornburg office.

"We are greatly saddened to learn about the loss of our beloved law partner and colleague, Nancy Sullivan," firm managing partner Peter Ekberg said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nancy's family at this difficult time. She was an exceptional lawyer and a wonderful person. We will miss her greatly."

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