Mother shot and killed in Tooele, husband arrested for her murder

Aug 19, 2022, 3:58 PM | Updated: 4:57 pm
FILE PHOTO - (Deseret News)...
FILE PHOTO - (Deseret News)
(Deseret News)

NOTE: Some information contained in this story deals with violence and domestic violence and may be disturbing.

TOOELE, Utah — A Utah woman is dead from a gunshot wound to her head, apparently inflicted by her husband, who called police to report the killing after they were already at the crime scene.

Michael Leroy Patterson, 36, was arrested on the suspicion of murder of his wife. She was found by her 9-year-old son in their apartment bathroom on Thursday evening. The victim has not been named but was positively identified by investigators.

According to probable cause documents from 3rd District Court in Tooele, the boy and his 10-year-old sister ran to knock on neighbors’ doors at Settlement Canyon Apartments in Tooele to ask for help when the body was found. Previously, the boy was with his friends while the girl was at home with younger brother who was sleeping.

The girl told police she heard a “boom” coming from the couple’s locked bedroom where they had gone to argue, as they had done previously. Soon after the sound, she reported Patterson leaving with “an angry face” and thought maybe her mother wanted some peace and quiet, so she didn’t check on her. When her brother returned home to ask for permission to swim, he sought out his mother and found the body.

Documents say the neighbors took the three children and called police, reporting a woman was unresponsive and not breathing and that there was blood present. At approximately 6:47 p.m., officers from Tooele City Police Department responded to the call and found the woman in the bathroom with an apparent gunshot wound.

While officers were on the scene, Patterson called emergency dispatch and said he had shot his wife. On the call, he disclosed his location in industrial part of Tooele, in the area of Emerald Road and Garnett Street. He also told officers that he had discarded the victim’s cellphone, a gun and a magazine in the area where he parked his car.

He led officers to his parked 2011 Ford Flex near a trailer and storage yard on G Avenue in Tooele. Detectives investigated both scenes and located the phone and other items.

“Officers and detectives later noted that the items appeared to have been hidden,” documents state. “Officers also located a spent shell casing in the same area as the other items. The spent shell casing matched the bullets that were in the magazine.”

Detectives interviewed the neighbors, who reported hearing screaming at approximately 6:40 p.m. Neighbors said the 9-year-old boy told them his mother was in the bathroom and not moving. One neighbor stayed with the children and called 9-1-1.

Patterson was also interviewed and said he and his wife were arguing. He said the victim was packing clothes to leave and went into the bathroom.

“Patterson said he took a Glock handgun from his holster and entered the bathroom which startled the victim,” documents state.

He told the police the handgun was accidentally fired and struck her.

The children were interviewed at a children’s justice center.

Forensic investigators said there was a single bullet wound and the blood evidence didn’t match Patterson’s account of events.

“The evidence at the scene contradicts Mr. Patterson’s claims,” investigators stated in the documents.

Patterson was booked on suspicion of murder by the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office at 5:13 Friday morning.

Domestic violence resources

If you or someone you know is going through abuse, help is available.

  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).
  • Resources are also available online at the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition website.

There are several ways the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition can help people. Previous examples include providing financial assistance for funerals, for moving, for a variety of things, counseling that help people find a different path or stay healthy and safe and the relationship they’re in.

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Mother shot and killed in Tooele, husband arrested for her murder