A Pennsylvania man upset over losing his job due to the coronavirus pandemic shot his girlfriend and then killed himself in an attempted murder-suicide, according to police.
The girlfriend survived the attack and is hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, the Wilson Borough Police Department said in a press release.
Authorities were called to the home in Wilson Borough, about 70 miles northeast of Philadelphia, around 1:20 p.m. on Monday for reports of multiple shots fired.
Officers arrived to find Roderick Bliss IV, 38, unresponsive and not breathing with “obvious gunshot injuries,” police said. A semi-automatic pistol was discovered nearby. A coroner ruled his death a suicide.
His girlfriend, 43, was found suffering from a gunshot wound to the back and was taken to the hospital to undergo surgery. She is recovering in the intensive care unit.
The woman and other witnesses told police that Bliss had “become increasingly upset over the COVID-19 pandemic” and was very upset over recently losing his job, the press release states.
“He went into the basement and came outside on to the rear porch with the victim. While holding the handgun, Bliss told the victim, ‘I already talked to god and I have to do this’. The victim ran off of the porch and he shot at her four times striking her once,” police said. “Bliss then shot himself.”
Domestic violence experts have said that they are concerned for survivors who may have to seek shelter somewhere unsafe as the coronavirus pandemic forces stay-at-home orders to be issued across the country.
Dr. Amanda Stylianou, a domestic violence expert at Rutgers University, told NBC News that for some survivors, being able to leave their homes to go to schools, workplaces and to visit family is critical.
“We know social isolation can really have devastating impacts on the safety, health and wellbeing of victims,” she said.
Stylianou said the crisis has also kept families in homes during a time “when stress is high and likely to cause more anger and frustration even in families without abuse.”
Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, urged those who need help to call the hotline to discuss their situation and come up with a safe plan.