SPOKANE, Wash. - The man who fatally shot his wife inside the Rockwood Cancer Treatment Center before killing himself had his gun taken away by police earlier this year and picked it up from police one day before the shooting.
Christopher Henderson's mental health is now the focus of the investigation into the murder of his wife, Sheena Henderson, and his suicide Tuesday morning.
Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said there was no communication breakdown between agencies that could have lead to this shooting, but they did make a call to action, saying mental health is a community issue, not a police or emergency room issue, but that it often turns out that way. They called on the state to fund more mental health services.
Police say Sheena Henderson called police on May 16 telling them her husband was suicidal. They found Christopher Henderson in his vehicle, took him to Sacred Heart that evening and confiscated his gun. He was released three hours later.
On June 19 the Department of Social and Health Services gave Henderson permission to get his gun back and then, on July 7, one day before the shooting, co-workers at Henderson's job at West Corporation called police saying Henderson was making suicidal comments.
He was subsequently contacted by the sheriff's department.
"He stated he had too much to live for, he would never hurt himself because of his children and he had employment opportunities back east where he came from," Sheriff Knezovich said.
Deputies determined Henderson didn't need to be taken to the hospital and let him go on his way. Four hours later he went to pick up his gun at a police holding facility and, the next morning, he entered his wife's place of work, shot her multiple times and then turned the gun on himself.
Had Henderson been involuntarily committed for treatment he then would have had to petition the court to get his gun back, but since that didn't happen he was cleared to pick it back up in June.
Investigators still haven't said if that gun was the one used in the shooting.
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