Man fatally shot girlfriend, 2 children and injured another in murder-suicide, police say

A man has been identified as the suspect in a murder-suicide that killed a woman and two of her children and injured a third in St. Louis County on Monday.
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 12:07 AM EDT
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ST. Ann, Mo. (KMOV/Gray News) - Police say a Missouri man shot his girlfriend and three of her children before turning the gun on himself, killing the woman, two of the children and himself.

St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez identified the suspect in the murder-suicide as 34-year-old Coleman McIlvain. The shooting happened around 8 p.m. Monday in St. Ann.

Police said the violence began after an argument when McIlvain’s girlfriend tried to convince him that he’d been drinking and shouldn’t leave in the car. Neighbors told KMOV McIlvain often drank and sometimes fired off his gun in the backyard. They also said the couple fought a lot.

After the argument, police said McIlvain fatally shot his girlfriend in the face then shot and killed her 14-year-old son and her 5-year-old son. The woman’s 9-year-old daughter, who was shot in the left hand, was able to survive the shooting by escaping to a neighbor’s house.

“The daughter then observed the boyfriend shoot her mom in the face and then had that fight or flight response,” said Jimenez of the girl who survived. “Her wits were amazing to know you got to get out of there. And he fired approximately seven shots to try to kill her. He struck her in the left hand with one bullet.”

Neighbor Gwen Connelly told KMOV that she has had trouble sleeping since the incident.

“I still see the horror in this little girl’s face about her mom dying in front of her eyes,” Connelly said. “She said, ‘My mom, he killed my mom. He shot her in the head. She’s dead.’”

Connelly added the girl had “blood all over her.”

“I said, ‘Are you hit anywhere else?’” Connelly said. “She said, ‘I don’t think so,’ but she was drenched in blood, so she said, ‘Why did this happen to me?’”

The 9-year-old was taken to the hospital after the incident.

Neighbors said Monday started as a normal day for the family. They said they saw McIlvain and one of the children working in the yard and setting up the backyard for a Fourth of July celebration.

KMOV reports another child, a 10-year-old boy, was killed in a separate shooting Monday night in St. Clair County.