NIAGARA FALLS – A city man apparently strangled his girlfriend and slashed her throat before fatally shooting himself Monday night in her 29th Street home, police said.
The deceased were identified as Peter G. Daniels, 37, and Elizabeth R. Wilson, 31, a former resident of Bath. Their bodies were found in Wilson’s home at 548 29th St. Daniels lived across the street with his parents.
Investigators confirmed that the two had an on-again, off-again relationship for several years. Some of Daniels’ neighbors, friends and family members told police that there were some unreported domestic issues and that Daniels might have been stalking Wilson, said Detective Lt. Michael Trane.
Officers arriving at the home Monday night found a grisly scene with a large amount of blood.
“They weren’t both killed the same way. He had her blood on him. He killed her with a knife, which was found at the scene,” said Capt. William M. Thomson, chief of detectives. He said officers found Wilson’s body with knife wounds to the throat and Daniels’ body with a gunshot wound to the head.
Daniels’ family members were the first to discover the apparent murder-suicide, just after 7:30 p.m. Monday.
His mother told police that her son, who lived in her home across the street from his girlfriend, had just left her house and that shortly afterward, she heard a gunshot.
Thomson said the mother alerted her other son, Philip Daniels, who called police when he found the two bodies.
Police found Peter Daniels’ body in a seated position, propped up against a wall in the dining room with a pump-action shotgun between his legs.
Wilson’s body was lying in the same room.
Niagara County Coroner Cindy-Lou Joyce said that it was too early to determine what time Wilson was killed.
However, it appeared that she was dead before Peter Daniels went across the street to talk with his mother, Thomson said.
Trane said Daniels’ mother was concerned about the way he was behaving.
“He was only in the house for a few minutes, but he had blood on him,” Trane said. “His mother called some family members, and while she was doing this, she heard [gunfire] from across the street.”
Both Trane and Thomson said it was unclear what led to the violence.
“The two people who can tell us best are gone,” Thomson said.
Trane said neighbors had reported hearing arguing coming from the house that night.
“After the fact, neighbors told us that they thought his behavior was weird and that he appeared to be stalking her,” Trane said. “We’ve never had any calls of any domestic issues between the two of them, but based on our interviews of mostly Elizabeth’s friends and family, there were some domestic issues that were never reported to police. Certainly we’d like to know if there were previous threats.”
Trane added, “If any man or woman feels as if they are in danger is a domestic relationship, please call the police or a friend. If you know somebody who is having domestic issues and are afraid to call the police, please call for them. We don’t know what the cause was in this case, but there had never been a call – to us.
“You can’t second-guess now, but in the future, for other people, it couldn’t hurt to get the police involved.”
Daniels had received numerous honors as a bodybuilder, but Trane said there were no signs of steroids, needles or any other pharmaceuticals in his house.
“The medical examiner is currently doing toxicology on the body,” Trane said. “Other than rumor and conjecture, we have no reason to believe he was on steroids.”
At Primerano Fitness, where Daniels trained, an employee who asked not to be identified told The Buffalo News that Daniels was a member of the Natural Muscle Association and participated only in regulated, natural contests, where members are strictly tested for drugs before participating.
The employee said Daniels had been scheduled to participate in the Olympus contest for bodybuilders in three weeks.
Daniels was a member of the Army Reserve and had a son.