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Police officer who did not show up for work found shot to death in his house along with his newlywed wife

Officer Domingo Tavarez-Rodriguez

Fayetteville Police Department Officer Domingo Tavarez-Rodriguez and his wife were found shot to death inside their home on Friday, April 28, 2023.

On Friday night, a North Carolina police officer failed to show up for his shift. Now, both he and his wife are dead, authorities say.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the deaths as a double homicide, Fayetteville Police Chief Kemberle Braden said at a press conference late Friday night. Tarheel State law enforcement assumed the investigation due to one of the victims having served as a police officer, he said.

Officer Domingo Tavarez-Rodriguez, 53, was supposed to start his work shift at 6 p.m. – after taking several days off. At first, when he didn’t show up, supervisors tried his phone. When he didn’t answer repeated calls, officers went to his house on Vandenberg Drive and gained entrance. The officer and his wife, Yenitza Arroyo Torres, were found shot to death, the police chief said.

“I was notified at about 7 p.m.,” Braden said.

The chief did not elaborate on the deaths – other than mentioning the apparent gunshot wounds – and did not say whether there were any signs of forced entry into the house.

During the press conference, Braden said that Tavarez-Rodriguez was a military veteran and had only recently joined the FPD in 2021.

According to The Fayetteville Observer, the couple were newlyweds, having married in October 2022. Records cited by the paper show that Tavarez-Rodriguez purchased the home sometime in 2017.

“This is so unreal,” one woman identified as a family member of Torres wrote on social media, according to the paper. “RIP, Yenitza.”

“My beautiful cousin,” another woman reportedly wrote, “Jenny, we love you always RIP.”

Two other people, reportedly on social media, recalled their time with Tavarez-Rodriguez in the military, saying that he recently appeared happy and was an awesome cop.

Neighbors said they were shocked as well.

“From our conversations, he was big on community … helping keep people safe,” neighbor Brian Stackhouse told Goldsboro, North Carolina-based CBS affiliate WNCN. “‘ Mingo’ was very friendly with all the kids on our block right here. Like I said, it’s very shocking.”

“My heart goes out to the family because it’s tragic,” Rita Stackhouse told the TV station.

Stackhouse and his wife described the couple as unfailingly polite, welcoming, and friendly.

According to WNCN, the house was surrounded by several police cars, flashing lights, and yellow tape – a surreal departure for the typically-considered-idyllic neighborhood of River Glen.

“Not knowing what exactly happened… that’s the biggest thing,” the neighbor added. “Because nobody knows right now.”

Details are scarce about the circumstances of the shootings, and the SBI is reportedly keeping mum, the Observer reports.

“The investigation into the incident is ongoing,” the FPD said in a press release. “More information will be released as it is available.”

On Saturday, Braden added one small detail, saying he did not think the officer’s employment was a factor in his death.

“I don’t have any fear that officers are being targeted right now,” Braden said, according to the Observer.

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