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AP

Troubled marriage ends with death in Wauwatosa

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WAUWATOSA (AP) - A man apparently trying to save a marriage broken by his past domestic violence killed his estranged wife and two children in their suburban home, then shot himself to death, police said Wednesday.

Capt. Fred Basting said the man shot his wife and teen-age son in the basement of the two-story brick bungalow and then killed his 3-year-old son and himself in a second-story bedroom.

The bodies were found by police Wednesday morning, and the news of the deaths shocked neighbors in a suburb already mourning the death of a young Marine killed in the Persian Gulf War.

Friends of the two slain children cried and hugged each other in the street as the news spread.

The couple had been separated and were in the process of a divorce, but there had been a recent attempt at reconciliation, Lt. Richard Vernier said.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office identified the dead as Mohsen Elmasri, 45; his wife, Bonnie Elmasri, 38; and their children Mike, 17, and Adam, 3.

A court restraining order had been issued against Elmasri, who was living at a downtown Milwaukee hotel.

While Bonnie Elmasri had not been agreeable to the reconciliation, "apparently she has been allowing him into the home on several occasions in the last couple of months," Vernier said.

Police discovered the bodies Wednesday morning after a neighbor who was aware of the family's problems saw the husband's van in the driveway of the northeast Wauwatosa home, Vernier said.

The neighbor in the 2400 block of LeFeber Street first called the hospital where the woman worked as a radiologist, learned she had failed to report for her shift and called authorities, Vernier said.

An automatic pistol was recovered from the man's body, Basting said. Autopsies on each victim were planned.

Wednesday afternoon, police tapes blocked access to the Elmasri home as schoolchildren walked past on their way home and cars drove slowly by the murder scene.

Many nearby homes on the residential street had U.S. flags flying to support U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf War.

Gerald Thorpe, 59, who lives a few doors from the Elmasri home, said the deaths were hard on children in the neighborhood, many of whom were friends with the Elmasri boys.

The older boy, he said, was a senior at Wauwatosa East High School, and many students had been stopping to commiserate with friends.

"A lot of kids from high school, throughout the afternoon, have been stopping by, crying in the street here, hugging each other," Thorpe said.

"Of course they went to East, and that's where that young Marine was killed," said Thorpe, referring to Marine Pfc. Scott Schroeder, 20.

Schroeder, a recent East graduate, died Jan. 29, while on patrol in the Gulf with a light armored vehicle.

"So the kids have had that to deal with, and now they have this," said Thorpe.

Vernier said the shooting happened sometime after 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, when a neighbor had seen the teen-age boy return home, and probably occurred about midnight.

Vernier also said Mohsen Elmasri had a criminal record. Although he said the complete record was not available late Wednesday, he said it included arrests in September 1982 for sexual perversion and contributing to the delinquency of a child and in June 1990 for domestic battery.

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