A murder/suicide in Old Town Bay St. Louis has stunned the Hancock County community. Police say prominent Bay St. Louis businessman Carl Heitzmann shot his wife, Mimi to death then turned the gun on himself.
The incident happened at the couple's townhouse apartment at 105 DeMontluzin Street sometime Thursday night. The couple's bodies were discovered Friday morning.
Police say when Mimi Heitzmann didn't show up to pick up her brother-in-law for work Friday morning, a relative knew something was wrong.
"The sister-in-law went and checked on her and found her in the house," Interim Bay Police Chief Tom Burleson told WLOX News.
Police say the relative saw her body on the floor through a window.
"When we responded, we discovered there was a male and female both lying in the living room/hallway area of the apartment. Both of them had gunshot wounds. It appears, through the investigation, that this was a murder suicide," Burleson said.
Authorities say 58-year-old Carl Heitzmann shot his wife twice in the abdomen, then shot himself in the head. A motive for the shooting is not clear.
"We have no idea. The only people who's going to know the motive on this is the two victims," Burleson said.
Carl Heitzmann was a well known contractor in town who built hundreds of custom homes in Hancock County and throughout the Coast. He also built and leased space in several commercial buildings along Highway 90 in the Bay.
Mimi Heitzmann was an accomplished author, writing such books as "No More Tears In Heaven" and her latest, "Spell Bound on the Bay."
Mimi's family owns Monti Electrical Supply Company. Both their stores in the Bay and in Gulfport were closed Friday because of the tragedy.
Chuck Benvenutti, a relative of the victims, said, "Carl and Mimi are casualties of Katrina. They're just as much casualties as those people who lost their lives. Depression is here in Bay St. Louis. Dealing with the post-Katrina, you can't begin to fathom unless you're living here. And you don't realize how bad it is for some people until something like this happens."
"Tragic is an under statement," said Dr. Richard Akin.
Akin has leased space in one of Heitzmann's buildings for 13 years, but has been a friend of the family for more than 20 years.
"I'm really concerned about his children and the grand-children, of course. Having to live with this type of tragedy is so terrible. And, of course, whatever suffering was going on in the family, we don't know. Now there's going to be a lot more suffering," Akin said.
"Mimi and Carl were both great people, great people in the community," Benvenutti said. "It's just a terrible thing and right now, I suggest you hold your loved one. And if they need some help, get them to see somebody. There's help out there. We all think we're made of steel, but we're not."