'He shot ... the grandmother,' dispatcher tells police after Northland shooting that left 4 dead
It was a gathering for a Sunday night dinner with a bride, her new husband, her son, a 14-year-old granddaughter and the teen's mother.
But at some point, gunfire erupted inside the Northland home in what police say was a murder-suicide. The teen fled the house and frantically called police to alert them of the shooting in the Thousand Oaks neighborhood outside of Parkville.
The teen had no idea where she was but was able to give a dispatcher a gruesome glimpse into what Platte County Sheriff's deputies would eventually find. Victims would be in the dining room and kitchen area, the girl told dispatchers.
"(Inaudible) … has a gun and he has shot somebody," a dispatcher said, according to audio captured by Broadcastify.com.
The dispatcher continued, "Again, she's not giving us an address, but her father had a gun and he shot, I believe, the grandmother and shot at her."
Platte County Sheriff Mark Owen called the shootings a murder-suicide. He identified the victims as newlyweds Sharmalee Pauling, 73, and Carl Deruyscher, 66; and the teen's mother, Margaret "Maggie" Girard, 49.
Douglas Pauling, 50, the son of Pauling and the father of the teen, also was found dead and is thought to be the shooter, Owen said.
Both widowed, Sharmalee Pauling and Carl Deruyscher were married May 26 in Leavenworth, Kan., according to their page on The Knot, a wedding planning website.
Girard, the mother of Pauling's granddaughter and one of the victims Sunday, wrote the only post on the couple’s online guest book.
“Congratulations to the two most wonderful people ever, what a beautiful wedding, you two deserve the best! Love you both!” Girard wrote.
Pauling and Deruyscher met after each lost their spouse of many years, Deruyscher’s son Chris Deruyscher wrote in a Facebook post congratulating his father on his wedding day.
It brought Chris Deruyscher great peace that his dad found a widow, knowing that "he was with somebody who understood that you never truly get over the loss of someone like that.”
He went on to say that, though he would always miss his mother, he was glad to welcome Sharmalee Pauling into the family and move forward while remembering those they had each lost.
"She and Dad will lock arms and us with them and we will move forward in the years we have remaining loving each other and cherishing the memories of those who have gone before us," he wrote.
"I am very excited for both of these two, and I pray that God would bless their marriage and the years in front of them," he said.
The Star has been unable to reach Chris Deruyscher for comment.
The events began to unfold around 9:15 p.m. Sunday when authorities received a call from the teen — the shooting's sole survivor — to alert them of the shooting.
"Initially she wasn't sure of the exact address of where she was," said Capt. Jeffrey Shanks with the Platte County Sheriff's Office. "She indicated there was a party armed with possibly a rifle."
As dispatchers worked to figure out where the girl was calling from, they learned someone in the house had a gun.
"Are there units I can start to that area?" the dispatcher asked. Seconds later an officer responded, "One-twenty-six … will be en route."
The dispatcher continued, "Showing units en route. Again, she's not giving us an address, but her father had a gun and he shot, I believe, the grandmother and shot at her. … She was not giving us an address. We're trying to get her back on the line."
Another officer spoke up: "One-twenty-seven, show me en route as well."
"She was not responding," the dispatcher said. "She would not give us the street. She forgot the address. She's very shaken up."
Minutes later, the dispatcher passed along more information from the teen caller.
"Information the (reporting party) advised that he has brown hair that's very short and has a scruffy face, he's wearing glasses, a T-shirt and cargo shorts … says the parties that have been shot are going to be in the dining room.
"She got out of the house. When she left, the father and everyone else were still in the residence, between the kitchen and the dining room," dispatcher said.
The Platte County Sheriff's Office set up a perimeter, assuming an active shooter was in the area, Shanks said.
The sheriff's office called in its SWAT team. Members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Parkville police responded to the area. The South Platte Fire Protection District and AMR ambulance staged nearby.
Chuck Stockman, who lives nearby, said whatever happened was very quiet.
He said he didn’t hear anything. As a retired police officer, he thinks he’d recognize the sound of gunfire.
At around 10 p.m., he went to let his dog out and turned on his outdoor floodlights.
When he went outside, he was surprised to see “police cars everywhere with no lights on.”
Officers were donning vests and had blocked off the area.
Stockman saw the sheriff and asked if everything was all right.
“Nope,” the sheriff responded. “No, it’s not.”
The SWAT team entered the house and found the bodies, Shanks said.
The teen was taken into protective custody while authorities waited for her relatives to arrive from out of state.
"The juvenile was not injured physically, but there is a lot of trauma," Owen said.
Authorities have not said what prompted the shooting, he said.
The calm that is normally present in the quiet subdivision was shattered by the news of the shooting, which spread rapidly on social media sites.
Much of that information was incorrect and "got blown way out of proportion," a frustrated Owen said.
"Some people were taking shelter in their house because they believed it was an active shooter," he said. "There was a lot of unnecessary worrying and harm to a lot of people in this neighborhood because of Facebook and a lot of electronic media."