STUART — A Stuart man who thought he heard an intruder outside his bedroom door instead fatally shot his pregnant wife, sheriff’s officials said.
The shooting happened just around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday when the woman’s husband heard a noise outside the bedroom door of their home in Stuart, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told news outlets.
The man told detectives he didn’t realize his wife was not in the room. He frantically called 911 and told dispatchers he had accidentally shot his wife, Snyder said.
The woman was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
“He gave us a pretty in-depth statement, in which he said that he awoke in the middle of the night, thought he heard somebody in the house, went to investigate with a handgun, saw a shape in the hallway and fired one round and unfortunately, it turned out to be his wife,” Snyder said.
The woman was six months pregnant, and doctors were able to save the baby, WPBF TV reported. Deputies said a 2-year-old child was in the home when the shooting happened.
The Martin County Sheriff;s Office is not releasing the names of the woman or her husband, citing its interpretation of Marsy’s Law — a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution that was meant to protect crime victims but deprives the public of information long available under Florida’s public records laws.
“This is a nightmare case,” Snyder said. “You know somebody who thinks he’s defending his home, actually shoots his wife.”
The agency is conducting an investigation.
“So, though we do have a good statement from him, we don’t take anything to face value and we’ll continue investigating through all backgrounds; there’s a lot of investigative steps that we’ll have to make sure that he’s telling the truth,” said Snyder.
Snyder offered a warning to people who have guns in their home.
“When you have a home where you have family members, you have to be even more careful and wait that extra second and do everything you can to make sure you know what you’re dealing with when you’re about to use deadly force,” Snyder said.