WICHITA, Kan. — Carolyn Richardson struggled with anxiety and depression, and had trouble communicating with her boys — and those issues converged in a violent way Wednesday morning, Wichita police said.
A day after a brief confrontation left two sons wounded and their mother dead, Lt. Ken Landwehr offered this account of what happened:
Richardson's 16-year-old son awoke shortly before 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, walked into the living room of their home at 329 N. Volutsia — and saw his mother holding a handgun.
After a brief verbal exchange, Richardson fired a shot at him. She fired again as he turned and ran for the door. The bullet hit the teen in the back and came out his neck, Landwehr said.
Richardson's 20-year-old son was awakened —"I imagine it was the gunfire," Landwehr said — and ran from his bedroom toward the door.
She shot at him, too, striking him in the back.
They made it to a neighbor's house, and police provided protection so an ambulance could whisk the victims to nearby Wesley Medical Center for treatment.
Officers knocked on the front door of Richardson's house, Landwehr said, but when she did not answer they retreated and took a defensive posture because of reports that the woman had both a handgun and an AK-47 in the house.
Most of the tree-lined block was evacuated as a precaution. A SWAT team was called to the scene, and she did not respond when a negotiator tried to contact her by phone and then by bullhorn.
Flash-bang grenades and tear gas canisters were deployed into the house shortly before 11 a.m., and officers found Richardson dead in the bathroom of what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Her handgun was next to her, Landwehr said. An autopsy was scheduled to confirm how she died and whether drugs or alcohol contributed to the incident.
Richardson would have turned 50 on Friday, records show.