Aurora 6-year-old witnesses parents die in murder-suicide

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If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, contact TheHotline.org 800-799-7233 (SAFE) for help anywhere in the U.S. or GatewayShelter.org (303-343-1851) for help in Colorado’s Aurora/Arapahoe County.

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A 6-year-old boy witnessed his own father shoot and kill his mother before turning the gun on himself. The little boy’s family is now trying to make sure he is cared for.

Police found Sarah Terry Smith, 40, suffering from gunshot wounds when they responded to the shooting in the 18500 block of East Kansas Place.

It happened on Friday, July 30, just after noon. Sarah later died at the hospital.

At the scene, police also found Robert Terry, 49, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Their 6-year-old child, Andrew, witnessed the entire incident.

‘Absolutely devastating’

Sarah’s brother told FOX31 the two had been married and divorced twice, and they were back together again.

“They had their problems, like every relationship does,” Alan Smith said.

Smith said the two had just gotten engaged. Then an argument broke out on that Friday.

Sarah Terry Smith and her child, Andrew, whose father shot and killed Sarah and shot and killed himself on July 30, 2021. (KDVR)

He was told his sister was in the car trying to leave, with her child, 6-year-old Andrew, in the backseat.

“I guess she was trying to flee. Robert came out and discharged his firearm 17 times at her, striking her in the head twice. He turned the gun on himself and took his own life. Right in front of Andrew,” Smith said. “Andrew got out of the back seat and had to walk across the street to notify somebody about what happened.”

Smith said he always looked out for his sister, but he never imagined her ex-husband would be capable of killing her.

“It’s absolutely devastating. I cannot believe he could bring himself to do this,” Smith said.

‘Most wonderful person you would ever meet’

Sarah was a police officer in St. Augustine, Florida, before she moved to Colorado, where she was a welfare fraud investigator for Arapahoe County Human Services.

“She was the most warm-hearted person you would ever meet. She never met a stranger, ever. She was a devout Christian, the most wonderful person you would ever meet. Devastating,” Smith said.

Arapahoe County released this statement:

“Arapahoe County mourns the untimely loss of Sarah Terry, a senior welfare fraud investigator in our Human Services department who was killed in a domestic violence incident that happened last week. Sarah was a beloved and respected colleague to everyone she encountered, and all of us in the County extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends. This tragedy demonstrates the insidious nature of domestic violence and the devastation it wreaks on victims such as Sarah. As we continue to dedicate ourselves to providing support around this issue and seeking remedies for it, we ask everyone to respect the Terry family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

Arapahoe County

Smith hopes something good will come of this horrific tragedy.

“Please pray for the family and Andrew that he can cope and god will turn this into a positive somehow,” Smith said.

He also has a message for victims of domestic violence.

“If you guys know of anybody that is going through a situation of domestic violence or you are yourself, please, please, go to a domestic violence shelter and ask for help. Because it can turn tragic in the blink of an eye,” Smith said through tears.

Resources for victims of domestic violence

Sarah’s coworkers are in the process of setting up a fund to help her son. If you’d like more information, contact Shannon Robledo at Arapahoe County at 303-636-1150.

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