Officials say a Bozeman police officer shot and killed his wife before killing himself in Bozeman on Saturday.
Bozeman Police Chief Steve Crawford said 31-year-old Danielle Heninger and 40-year-old were the two killed on the 100 block of East Story Street in Bozeman on Saturday night.
Crawford said investigators believe Zach shot and killed Danielle before killing himself.
“To say that we’re in shock is an understatement,” Crawford said in a press conference Monday afternoon, calling the incident “an unprecedented hit to us.”
“The effect on staff is tremendous.”
Zach, a Marine Corps veteran, had been an officer with the Bozeman Police Department for 12 years. He was home off-duty at the time of the incident, Crawford said.
Police responded to reported gunshots at the Story Street home on Saturday at about 11:30 p.m. Danielle and Zach were both found with gunshot wounds. Officers and medics attempted life-saving efforts. Both were taken to the hospital and later died.
The couple had three children and Crawford said there were children at home at the time of the incident. They are in the care of family now, the chief said.
Crawford said police had never responded to their residence for domestic violence issues in the past.
Because the incident involved a Bozeman officer, Crawford requested that the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation and the Park County coroner conduct the investigation.
“This has been, and will continue to be, a very difficult time for the men and women of the Bozeman Police Department,” Crawford said. “Our heartfelt gratitude and support is extended to all of the officers, responders and investigators who had to respond to this incident.”
Crawford went on to say that the department’s thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the two killed, “especially with the family of the victim, Danielle Heninger.”
Specially trained officers from the Montana Highway Patrol and Butte Silver-Bow police are here helping first responders with a series of debriefings for Bozeman officers, firefighters, medical staff and dispatchers who responded to the incident directly; for coworkers and friends who are affected but didn’t respond to scene; and for families of Bozeman officers.
“We’re doing everything we can to support our folks as we move through this,” Crawford said.
Eric Sell, spokesman for the Montana Department of Justice, said when the state investigation is complete, the findings will be forwarded to Park County. Until then, Sell said, the state won’t release further information.
There is no timeline for when the investigation will be finished, Sell said.
This is the second law enforcement related murder-suicide in the Bozeman area in less than a year and a half.
In March 2016, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Game Warden Jennifer Knarr shot and killed her husband Joseph Knarr, also a game warden, and their infant son Daniel before killing herself.