An Arizona mom shot her teenage son and 12-year-old daughter dead in a shocking murder-suicide. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County told the media that on the night of July 25, deputies discovered the bodies of Lisa Gerhart, 45, and her two children inside the family home in Gilbert, a suburb of Phoenix. Authorities believe that Gerhart shot her children before turning the gun on herself. Officials said that a hosepipe connected to a car was also running carbon monoxide into the home though all three victims were shot.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Bodies Were Discovered by One of Gerhart’s Closest Friends
In a Facebook post, a woman who identified herself as one of Gerhart’s “dearest” friends, Paula Testa, said on the night of July 25, she “found the car running w/ tubes from exhaust pipes into the home. called 911.” Testa added that the family’s dog survived the incident. She wrote, “Devastated isn’t a strong enough word to describe anything right now.”
Testa wrote in a subsequent post, “Lisa was an amazing mom ! This is not characteristic of her at all.” She also described their relationship as being “like sisters.”
Fox Phoenix reports that detectives could be seen outside of the family home in unincorporated Gilbert, close to Chandler Heights and Recker Roads. AZ Central reports that police were first called at around 9 p.m. on the night of July 25.
NBC Phoenix reports that Gerhart’s children were found upstairs in the home while she was found in another room.
2. Neighbors Have Speculated That Gerhart’s Husband Had Just Left Her
A neighbor, Connie Rivere, told AZ Central that Gerhart’s husband had recently left her. She also said, “She was talking to everyone, trying to get people to know she was having problems and that he left her. No matter how we talked to her, we thought she would be better off without him.”
Rivere added that she was “devastated” by the deaths. Sheriff Joe Arpaio alluded to this in a press briefing saying there had been “possibly be a separation between the husband and wife.”
Citing the sheriff’s office, NBC Phoenix reports that the children’s father was “separated” from Gerhart.
3. The Family Formerly Lived in England
According to a post on her Facebook page, Gerhart and her family formerly lived in England. Gerhart’s page is littered with photos of her children, her profile photos shows a picture of her with her 17-year-old son Kyle and husband David. She graduated from Mesa High School in Arizona in 1988. Her maiden name was Lisa Tucker.
On his Facebook page, David Gerhart says that he works in computers. Online records show that he ran his business, My Computer Works, out of his home but that he now had an office in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has numerous photos on Facebook showing his family in England, Scotland and Ireland.
4. The Children Had an Older Sister Too
On his Google Plus page, Kyle Gerhart wrote in February 2016:
On the off chance you’ll see this.. happy birthday to my one and only older sister Allie. I love and miss you so much and I wish I could see you and give you a hug.
That same day, his mother posted a photo of herself with daughter Allison Gerhart. One commenter wrote, “I hope Allison Marie Gerhart knows how much her family misses her!” While another said, “The bond of mother and child can NEVER be broken.”
Other posts on Gerhart’s Google page show him to be a blogger and aspiring actor.
5. Authorities Have Not Ruled Out the Possibility That Another Person Was Involved in the Incident
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told the media in a briefing that although investigators believe the incident is a murder-suicide, they will not officially rule out other possibilities until the autopsy results are in. Sheriff Arpaio described the incident saying, “It’s a sad situation. It’s a big problem facing our county and our country, domestic violence.”