What should have been an easy summer day in the quiet town of Tallasee, Alabama turned into a nightmare that played out in front of dozens of people. Imagine running to Walmart to grab a few necessities and witnessing the horrible act of murder and suicide! Just yesterday, this was a reality to some.
"The two women who were shot and killed in a Tallassee Walmart parking lot Tuesday morning had just been granted a protective order against the suspect.
Police have identified the victims as Tresea Miller, 58, and Barbara Buttles, 75. The suspect, who died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, is Harold Miller, 65. Police have ruled the case a murder-suicide.
A judge granted the protective order for Tresea Miller, her 23-year-old son and Buttles against Harold Miller. The protective order was granted this week, according to court records.
In the protective order, it indicates Tresea Miller and Harold Miller were married and had a divorce pending. In the document, Tresea Miller says she was verbally abused for 43 years.
Police confirmed there was a previous history of domestic incidents between the family members.
One of the couple's sons, not the one listed in the protective order, told WSFA 12 News there were no signs this would happen. The son said he doesn't believe this was premeditated by his father, adding that his father loved his mother. He admitted there were issues in the marriage, but there was nothing out of the ordinary recently. The son also confirmed Barbara Buttles is his grandmother.
Police believe Harold Miller shot the two women multiple times while they were in a vehicle and then turned the gun on himself.
Authorities were called to the shooting near the Walmart garden center at 10:15 a.m. When they arrived on the scene, Harold Miller was found dead in the parking lot. Tresea Miller and Buttles, who were inside a vehicle, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock said the suspect crashed his vehicle into the victims' vehicle in the parking lot. The man then got out of his vehicle and fired multiple rounds into the other vehicle.
Multiple law enforcement units responded to the scene and focused on a white SUV. The vehicle was covered with a large sheet to shield the bodies from public view while authorities processed the scene.
The shooting was contained to "a remote part of the parking lot not close to the front door," Tallassee Police Chief Matthew Higgins said and did not affect anyone shopping inside the store.
Walmart spokesperson Casey Staheli said "We are sad about what happened and thoughts go out to the family and friends of those lost.”
This story is an example of why women feel restraining orders aren't always helpful. Literally minutes after being granted their order, these two women are dead. Definitely sending up prayers for their family.