Nassau County police implored victims of domestic violence to call for help Friday after investigating a murder-suicide case in Bellmore where the victim had never reached out to authorities despite what police said was years of verbal abuse.
Douglas Kelly, 54, allegedly shot his wife, Dawn Kelly, 50, with a shotgun on Thursday night at their Thomas Place home before killing himself, said Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick, commanding officer of the homicide squad, at a news conference Friday in Mineola.
The couple had a “tumultuous relationship” and Douglas Kelly had a history of verbally abusing his wife, family members told police, but no one realized it would turn physical, Fitzpatrick said. They had been married for about 25 years.
Douglas Kelly had been arrested in the early 1980s on charges of assault with a weapon and burglary, Fitzpatrick said.
The couple’s 21-year-old daughter — who was warned by her mother to stay at a friend’s house overnight because her parents were having a bad fight — came home to check on Dawn Kelly when she couldn’t be reached, police said.
“She told her to stay somewhere else that night, she didn’t want her to witness what was going on at the house,” Fitzpatrick said. “She had to break into the house and then found her mom, deceased, on the bedroom floor.”
Dawn Kelly had been shot in the home’s master bedroom and Douglas Kelly shot himself in his daughter’s bedroom, police said. The dispute appeared to be over money for their cars and the shotgun was likely legally purchased, police said.
Police said they had not found any suicide notes and they were investigating if drugs or alcohol were involved. Douglas Kelly had been disabled for about 20 years and previously worked as a tile cutter. His wife, the family’s provider, was an IT tech for an insurance company, police said.
Fitzpatrick said police had never been called to the home. There were no orders of protection and no domestic violence arrests.
“Prior to this, we’ve had no domestic history with them. … This relationship was off our radar,” he said. “We would urge anybody who is the victim of domestic violence to reach out. … There are other agencies besides the police.”
He urged victims of domestic violence to call the county’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence hotline at 516-542-0404. The bilingual hotline is 516-889-2849.