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Married former police officers found dead in suspected murder-suicide, and N.C. officials say the warning signs were there


An image of the home of William Small and Heather Davenport Small (screengrab via WITN).

A former police officer in North Carolina with a long history of domestic violence allegations shot and killed his wife in their home before turning the gun on himself.

William Oscar Small, 62, and his wife Heather Davenport Small, 44, were found shot to death inside their home the afternoon of Feb. 4, according to local law enforcement in Pitt County.

“A weapon was recovered from the scene and there were no signs of forced entry to the home,” the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office announced on Twitter at the time. “The deaths appear to be a murder-suicide.”

The sheriff’s office confirmed those findings on Monday.

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“Following the autopsies of both deceased, and an examination of all available evidence, detectives were able to determine that William Small was the offender and his wife, Heather Small was the victim,” the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday.

Pitt County is located around 80 miles southeast of Raleigh.

Heather Small was shot four times, the sheriff’s office said.

“Two of the fatal shots fired were to the chest and from a sufficient distance to indicate that she could not have fired the shots,” the Twitter announcement said. “Mr. Small had two close-range gunshot wounds to his chest that were indicative of suicide.”

According to the sheriff’s office, William Small had been accused of domestic violence against his wife multiple times.

“Mr. Small also had a lengthy history as a suspect and as an arrestee for crimes of domestic violence stretching back over the past two decades against Mrs. Small,” the announcement said.

William Small was a Greenville police officer from 1994 to 2000, local NBC affiliate WITN reported.

Heather Small served from 1998 to 2006 as an officer with the Pitt County Memorial Hospital Police Department, which has since been disbanded, according to PRE, the public radio station for eastern North Carolina.

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