GILLETTE (WNE) — Two men found dead at the site of a camper fire Friday morning are believed to have died in a murder-suicide.
Patrick M. Mahoney, 56, is believed to have shot and killed his landlord and employer, Steven E. Hague, 59, with a .308 scoped rifle recovered from the scene at 1500 Midland Road, Sheriff Scott Matheny and Sgt. Dan Maul said Monday afternoon.
Mahoney is then believed to have died by suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head and Hague died from a gunshot wound that entered his upper shoulder, traveled downward and damaged his aorta, said Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem.
Wallem identified the men Monday afternoon following an autopsy in Rapid City, South Dakota.
The incident was called in when someone saw that the camper, which Mahoney lived in, was on fire. His body was “burnt beyond recognition” and he had a gunshot wound to the face when recovered from the fire, said Sheriff Scott Matheny.
Sheriff’s deputies, EMS and firefighters responded to the report at 11:06 a.m. Friday. Once at the scene, a man with a significant wound to his shoulder, later identified as Hague, was found outside the camper. Soon after, Mahoney was found inside the camper, Matheny said.
A criminal investigation began when the bodies were found.
“We believe that the individual that was in the camper fire was the suspect in this situation and that the male outside of the camper was the victim,” Maul said.
The cause of the fire and whether it was intentional or accidental remains unclear.
The Sheriff’s Office declined comment on a possible motive for the murder-suicide.
“While the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office believes a crime has been committed, there’s no cause for community concern and no other members of the community were ever at risk,” Matheny said.
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