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Man kills his wife in home, police say

A 26-year-old man, apparently angry because he thought his wife was having an affair, shot and killed her in their home Tuesday with his infant son and 3-year-old daughter nearby, authorities and neighbors said.

The man, identified by officials as Mark Allen Harrison, paralyzed a quiet Carrollwood neighborhood for hours when he refused to come out of his house and threatened to kill himself.

Finally, after nearly three hours of negotiations, Harrison surrendered peacefully at 2 p.m. When Hillsborough sheriff's officials entered the townhouse at 14018 Village View Drive, they found his wife, Sara C. Harrison, 24, dead in an upstairs bedroom.

The Harrisons' children, 3-year-old Kelly and 7-month-old Kyle, were whisked from the house earlier by Mark Harrison's brother, Jeff, who rushed over after Harrison called a family member to say he had killed his wife.

Officials said they were not certain whether the children saw the shooting.

"The 3-year-old indicated what the scene was like, essentially that she saw the body of the victim, and there was blood all over," said Sheriff Walter Heinrich.

Sheriff's spokesman Jack Espinosa said Mark Harrison had called family members Monday night and threatened to kill his wife. The relatives couldn't believe Harrison was serious but became alarmed Tuesday morning when Harrison called his sister and told her he had shot his wife.

Jeff Harrison went to the house and found his brother at the door with a gun. He grabbed the children, took them to safety and called authorities. He later stayed at the house and helped negotiators from the sheriff's Emergency Response Team talk his brother into coming out.

It appeared that Mrs. Harrison died of a gunshot wound to the head, Heinrich said. The weapon was an unusual one: an old-fashioned black powder pistol that fires a single pistol ball, according to Espinosa.

Heinrich declined to discuss what motive Mark Harrison, an electrician, gave for shooting his wife.

But Lisa Lindeman, next-door neighbor and friend of the Harrisons, said Harrison told negotiators "he thought Sara might be sleeping around." Lindeman, 23, said she could hear some of the conversation between Harrison and sheriff's officials from her apartment, where she stayed until Harrison surrendered. Some other neighbors were evacuated.

Negotiators and Harrison's brother crouched behind cars in the street and talked to Harrison, who stood in his front door, Heinrich said.

"He said he was going to kill himself because he killed his wife, and he loved her," Lindeman said. Harrison was charged with first-degree murder and was being held without bail in the county jail.

Residents in several subdivisions off Lynn-Turner Road were prevented from going to or leaving their homes as sheriff's deputies blocked off the area. In the Wellington of Carrollwood Village neighborhood where the Harrisons lived, residents lined the usually quiet streets and watched snipers climb on rooftops across from the Harrison townhouse.

Lindeman said the couple had been married about four years and seemed happy.

"They had a good relationship as far as I could see. I never saw them fighting," she said. Occasionally they would complain about money problems, but Lindeman said those troubles weren't unusual. Sheriff's officials have no record of any emergency calls from the address. Harrison's only police record appears to be arrests for some minor charges about nine years ago.

The Harrison children were staying with a relative Tuesday, sheriff's officials said.