Niagara Gazette

December 5, 2012

Standoff ends in suicide

By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — TOWN OF LOCKPORT - A man who shot his wife in the face before shutting himself inside his Campbell Boulevard home with his 3-year-old child took his own life following a police standoff Wednesday. 

Police said they found the body of 44-year-old Morris Tucker - the apparent victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound - inside a home in the 5700 block of Campbell Blvd. where he had held Niagara County Sheriff's deputies, Lockport police and state police at bay for more than two hours Wednesday morning. 

The toddler, who was inside the house with Tucker during the armed standoff, was not injured during the incident. 

The child's 40-year-old mother was taken to Erie County Medical Center for treatment of what the sheriff's department described as a gunshot wound to her face. The sheriff's department said the female victim was listed in critical condition at ECMC.

The whole scenario started to unfold at around 9:30 a.m. when the county sheriff's dispatch received a pair of 911 telephone calls from motorists passing the Campbell Boulevard property who reported seeing a female shot in the face at the roadside. Sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene a short time later, placing the female victim into a patrol car where she was taken away from the scene. 

Police set up a perimeter around the home and several neighboring homes were evacuated while police negotiators attempted to make contact with the suspect.

During a press briefing held during the standoff, Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour indicated that it was not clear at that point if Tucker remained inside the home. 

"We have helicopters as well in the air from Border Patrol," Voutour said. "At this point we're securing the perimeter and attempting to make contact with the person inside."

During the briefing, Voutour described Tucker as a white male, 5-foot-7, in his mid 40s, heavy set and heavily tattooed. He also said Tucker was known to police, but declined discuss any additional details.

"We're not 100 percent confirmed but we're pretty sure he is [in the house]," he added. 

Police made several attempts to contact Tucker. After more than two hours, a loud speaker was used to try and make contact wit the 3-year-old child. After about five minutes of calling her name, law enforcement officials said the child came to the door and fled the residence. 

The child was placed into an armored vehicle at shortly before 12:30 p.m. and taken to a waiting ambulance which moved her to a safe location. The sheriff's department indicated that the child was evaluated by a trauma doctor on scene and found to be unharmed. She was later turned over to family members on the scene. 

At 1:12 p.m., a tactical team entered the residence where they found Tucker's body. The sheriff's department said an assault rifle was located near Tucker when officers entered the residence. Law enforcement officials have not yet discussed a possible motive for Tucker's action. The sheriff's department said the matter remains under investigation.