A man who shot his wife in the face Wednesday – before holing up in his Campbell Boulevard home in the Town of Lockport with their 3-year-old daughter, then killing himself – had a violent history of crimes against women.
Morris Tucker, 44, whose body was found in the afternoon following a terrifying three-hour ordeal, had spent seven years in prison after the fatal shooting of a Lockport woman in 1998. He also had been a suspect in the stabbing death of a teenage girl in 1984.
Tucker shot Jenipher Behm Reese, 32, a mother of two young boys, in the head with a small-caliber pistol on Oct. 3, 1998. She was on life support for six days before she died.
The following year, Tucker pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted first-degree assault in the shooting.
In addition, he had been identified as a suspect in the 1984 stabbing death of 13-year-old Michelle Kasperek in Buffalo. The teen was found nearly decapitated near the old Cardinal Dougherty High School.
Tucker submitted to DNA tests while in prison for Reese’s shooting.
The results of those DNA tests were not clear Wednesday, but he was never charged in the Black Rock teen’s death, according to his former attorney, Joel Daniels. The gruesome case remains unsolved.
Some of the circumstances of what happened Wednesday in a rural portion of Niagara County mirror those earlier cases.
A female driver saw a bleeding woman running out of a house at about 9:45 a.m. in the 5700 block of Campbell, between Hinman Road and Route 31, at the border with Cambria.
The bleeding woman, later identified as Tucker’s wife, LeAnne, 40, was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition Thursday morning.
As his wife was transported from the crime scene, two SWAT teams of Niagara County sheriff’s deputies, Lockport police and state troopers surrounded the house. A Border Patrol helicopter hovered overhead.
Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour told reporters at a command post on Route 31 late Wednesday morning that the shooter was believed to be the woman’s husband. He was described as a man in his 40s, heavyset and heavily tattooed.
Voutour added that he believed the gunman could be watching news reports about the incident.
At about 1 p.m., police used a bullhorn to coax the young daughter out of the house. She was able to tell officials some of what had happened.
Police then sent in a remote-controlled robot camera that found the man’s body next to a rifle. Authorities said he appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Tucker is believed to have killed himself shortly after shooting his wife, Voutour said.
The sheriff acknowledged that meant the couple’s daughter was inside the house alone with her dead – or dying – father for three hours before police got her out.
“She probably witnessed something tragic,” Voutour said. But, he added, she seemed to be in good spirits and was even smiling after she was taken to safety by officers. “She’s doing great,” he said.
By happenstance, one of the SWAT members was the girl’s pediatrician. He examined the girl, Voutour said, and determined she had not been physically harmed.