Apparent murder-suicide probed in Sherburne County

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 15, 2013 - 7:31 PM

Man reportedly killed wife, then himself after standoff.

Sherburne County authorities found a 47-year-old woman and her estranged husband dead in a Clear Lake Township home Friday.

Janell Norrbom was found in the garage of her home in the 12300 block of 77th Street by officers who were responding to a relative’s 911 call just before 1:30 p.m., officials said Saturday.

The caller reported that Christopher Norrbom had said he shot his wife and was going to shoot himself. Officers who arrived at the house were able to reach Christopher Norrbom by phone, but a standoff ensued and tactical teams came from the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office, Elk River Police and the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.

Negotiations broke down with Christopher Norrbom, but officers got into the home’s attached garage and spotted Janell Norrbom’s body.

Then, at 6:41 p.m., they entered the home and found Christopher Norrbom’s body.

Neighbors said the family’s split-level house was left of bullet holes, with all the windows shot out.

No other details were released Saturday, including whether police had been called to the house before.

Messages posted on social media sites said the couple had three children and four grandchildren.

The Norrboms raised chickens on their acreage, where they have a large pole barn, said a neighbor, Kathy Makovec. “They seemed like a happy family,”she said. “They had a fifth-wheel, an aboveground swimming pool in the back. We were shocked.”

She heard the shooting coming from inside the house on Friday afternoon, Makovec said.

“It seemed like there were seven shots, and then it would stop for maybe a half-hour, and then he would fire another seven shots. The police were there though the whole time. There were outside, I’m sure. Yeah, he was shooting the whole house up, plus a car.”

Minnesota has recorded a string of domestic slayings, many of them involving women who were trying to end relationships, since last year.

The battered body of a 30-year-old woman, Kira Trevino, allegedly slain by her husband in February, was pulled from the Mississippi River in St. Paul last month. And the body of Danielle Jelinek, 27, of Oakdale, was recovered only days later from a pond near the Chisago County home of an on-again, off-again boyfriend, the last person to have seen her.

The ongoing search for Mandy Matula, the 24-year-old Eden Prairie woman who disappeared May 1, has been focused heavily on the Mississippi River. Her boyfriend shot himself to death before police could question him.

And on June 4, Nancy A. Sullivan, 57, was shot to death, and her estranged boyfriend, John L. Simpson, apparently killed himself in the Shoreview home they had shared.

Publicity about recent domestic slayings is leading more women to turn to domestic violence services, saying they don’t want to wind up the same way and need to leave their relationship, said Shelly Johnson Cline, executive director of St. Paul Intervention Project, and a statewide advocate.

“When a victim decides to leave an abusive situation, she is at a 75 percent greater risk of being seriously injured or killed by the perpetrator because he has lost all control,” Cline said.

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