A South Farmingdale couple were found dead of gunshot wounds in their bedroom in a murder-suicide, Nassau police said Wednesday.
Police were making a "well check" when they found the bodies of Anne Kaplan, 74, and husband Barry Kaplan, 73, about 9 p.m. Tuesday in their Lambert Avenue home, police said.
Barry Kaplan killed his wife before turning the gun on himself, police said.
Their son declined to comment and their daughter could not be reached Wednesday.
The couple's family had asked a neighbor to check on the two, and it was that neighbor who called authorities, police said.
The Kaplans were familiar to Long Island's tomato competition circles, having competed many years. Last year at Newsday's Great Long Island Tomato Challenge, they each entered 2-pound-plus Beefsteak tomatoes.
Fellow competitor Tina Kraemer of Bohemia said Barry Kaplan usually gave out tiny and unique tomatoes from his small garden to others, and last year, Kraemer's teenage daughter, Corinne, took the seeds from one and grew what she named "Barry's Teeny Tiny Tomato," which scored the smallest tomato award at last year's Newsday challenge.
"They were just very welcoming people," Kraemer said.One year, the Kaplans invited them to their small home, where their basement was full of garlic, broccoli, eggplant and other plants they grew, first in recyclable yogurt and newspaper containers, and canned or hung from the ceiling, she said.
"His back yard was like a jungle because I guess weeding wasn't their forte," Kraemer said, "and you'd see these big, tall tomato plants amongst the weeds."
Barry showed her a photo album of competitions and his ribbons, Kraemer recalled, before softly saying, "Oh Barry."Margarita Lauria has known the couple since she moved in next door 31 years ago and got a welcoming knock from them.
"We can't imagine what happened," she said.
She called the Kaplans a "beautiful" couple who often took walks together.The last time she saw Barry was last week, when he planted tomatoes in her yard. She said he was known on the block for sharing his vegetable harvest.
"They were nice people," Lauria said. "In 31 years, I never had a complaint about them."