Shooting shocks neighbors

Joe and Kay Woods were model neighbors who brought around plates of cookies during the holidays, welcomed newcomers and shared their newspapers, a neighbor said.

Lori Michaels spoke almost daily to the couple, whose yard is adjacent to hers. The Woods lived at 1808 S. 10th St., near St. Louis Avenue and Maryland Parkway.

"Our whole relationship is through the fence," she said. "They’re just the nicest people."

Michaels was shocked to learn Thursday that the elderly husband and wife were found shot in their home in what police are calling a murder and attempted suicide. It’s the fifth such incident in the Las Vegas Valley in the past 19 days.

Police said 86-year-old Joseph Woods was arrested in absentia. He is accused of killing his 80-year-old wife by shooting her in the back. Joseph Woods had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his torso and was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, police said.

He was listed in critical condition.

Homicide Lt. Lew Roberts said the motive appeared to be that the couple was "elderly and sick."

He said other recent murder-suicides or murder-attempted suicides involved the potential break up of a relationship and financial concerns.

According to its public information office, the Metropolitan Police Department has had six murder-suicides or murder-attempted suicides in its jurisdiction so far this year.

In the latest case, police said family members who had come to the home to take care of the Woods discovered the couple in a bed. Homicide Sgt. Russ Shoemaker said a gun was found near the bed.

Michaels said her neighbor Joe Woods had heart problems and was confined to a wheel chair but described Kay Woods as spry. Michaels didn’t know whether Kay Woods had any health problems.

The Woods lived at the home for about 40 years. In the driveway of the quaint, single-story home late Thursday was a minivan with a "disabled veteran" license plate. A sign — "The Woods Homestead" — was on the porch.

Paul Woods, their son, lives in another building on the property, Michaels said.

Paul Woods is also friendly with neighbors, Michaels said. He recently offered her and her boyfriend a ride to an impound lot and has brought rawhides for their dog.

Michaels said Paul Woods often brought his father outside in his wheel chair to get some sun and visit with neighbors.

"He loves his parents," Michaels said of Paul Woods.

Paul Woods declined to comment Thursday.

Michaels said she and her boyfriend didn’t hear gunfire Thursday. When she saw police remove a body from the home, Michaels said she never imagined the reality of what transpired.

"I just wish to God it’s not a murder," Michaels said.

Murder-suicides and murder-attempted suicides have been frequent this month. Cases in Las Vegas have all involved men as the suspects in killing the women.

On Sept. 5, a Texas man shot and killed a North Las Vegas woman with whom he had a relationship before turning the gun on himself. He died a few days later.

Two days later, a 51-year-old man shot and killed his girlfriend with a rifle from a second-floor landing in their northwest valley home. He called police after shooting himself in the neck and is expected to survive.

On Sept. 14, a housekeeper discovered a 29-year-old woman shot to death by her boyfriend in her home near Maryland Parkway and Silverado Ranch Boulevard. Her boyfriend was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

On Sept. 17, Las Vegas police received a note from Mark Bryron Helwig who claimed that he had killed his wife two years ago. He told police he was going to kill himself. When officers arrived at Helwig’s home near Charleston Boulevard and Fort Apache Road, they found him in the closet of a master bedroom. He had shot himself in the head with a shotgun.

Police discovered his wife’s body stuffed in a freezer.

Contact reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279.

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