Police: Man kills wife after fight about quitting smoking

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Police say a husband and wife fighting over smoking precipitated an early morning homicide in Muskegon Heights.

The shooting happened at around 6:40 a.m. in the 3100 block of Mona Street in Muskegon Heights, the city’s police chief Joseph Thomas told 24 Hour News 8.

Investigators say a husband and wife were engaged in a fight several hours before the shooting after the husband showed up at the home with cigarettes when the two had agreed they would quit smoking.

The fight escalated and the husband packed belongings and left the home, Thomas said.

Hours later he returned to the home and shot the wife four times in the chest, Thomas said. As of early Sunday afternoon the alleged perpetrator had not been arrested. Thomas declined to release details about the active search but said a “task force” was working to locate the man.

“We’re going to be dogmatic looking for this husband,” Thomas said. 

The names of the individuals involved were not immediately released.

“It’s another one of those sad, sad stories,” Thomas said Sunday afternoon. “As a police chief, this hurt my heart — when I see lovers, husband and wives, kill each other. It goes way beyond police work.”

Thomas said the victims are in their “40s or 50s”. Investigators suspect the husband had been drinking prior to the shooting, he said.

“Sometimes people wonder why I don’t sleep well at night and this is one of them,” Thomas said of the crime.

The shooting is Muskegon Heights’ first homicide of 2019.

“This is what the FBI calls non suppressible crime,” Thomas said. “That’s a social problem that we must try and address systemically and treat it like an illness.”

The Muskegon Heights Police Department recently received a $10,000 grant aimed at preventing crimes like this, Thomas aid. He said the money will be used to develop “non-traditional” approaches to fighting gun violence and domestic violence.

“This is much bigger than the police department,” Thomas said. “This is happening all over… You can’t enforce this out.”

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