Tonawanda News

December 5, 2012

Pendleton man holes up with toddler after shooting woman in face

BY BILL WOLCOTT AND JUSTIN SONDEL
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A man who served time for a 1998 homicide in Lockport shot his wife in the face Wednesday morning and shut himself inside his Campbell Boulevard with his 3-year-old child before taking his own life.

Morris Tucker, 44, was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a police standoff. The toddler, who was inside the house with Tucker, was not injured and was put in the care ofrelatives.

LeAnne Tucker, the child's 40-year-old mother, was taken to Erie County Medical Center for treatment of what the sheriff's department described as a gunshot wound to her face. She was listed in intensive care at ECMC Wednesday night.

According to Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour, LeAnne Tucker fled the house after being shot. She flagged down two vehicles while holding her face. The drivers of an armored truck and second car called 911 just before 9:30 a.m.

Sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene a short time later, placing the female victim into a patrol car and she was taken away from the home, which is about 200 yards from Saunders Settlement Road. 

The deputies learned her husband was armed and he was still inside the house with the 3-year old girl.

Members of the Sheriff's Emergency Response Team the State Police Special Operations Response Team surrounded the house, attempting to make contact with Morris. They set up command headquarters at a restaurant at the corner of Saunders and Campbell.

After more than two hours without hearing from Tucker despite repeated attempts, a loud speaker was used to try to make contact with the toddler. After about five minutes of calling her name, the girl came to the door and fled the residence at 12:25 p.m. She was taken to an armored vehicle and then to and ambulance by sheriff's deputies.

When asked about her father by rescue workers, the girl reportedly said, "My daddy has a boo boo."

The child was evaluated by a trauma doctor and found to be unharmed. She was turned over to family members on scene.

The sheriff's department used a robot to look inside the house and saw Tucker slumped over the couch. At 1:12 p.m. a tactical team entered the residence and found the man dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. A 99 mm semi-automatic assault rifle was located near Tucker's body.

In 1998, Tucker was convicted of a homicide in the death of a Lockport woman, Jennifer Behm. He served his complete term in prison.

New York State Police, Lockport Police, Border Patrol, Town of Niagara Police, Town of Lewiston Police assisted at the scene. Police set up a perimeter around the home and several neighboring homes were evacuated while police negotiators attempted to make contact with the suspect.

The police had helicopters in the air from Border Patrol securing the perimeter and attempting to make contact with the Tucker.

Campbell Boulevard was blocked by spike strips in order to keep the suspect from fleeing. "It's standard procedure," Voutour said. "There were two cars and last thing we wanted was for him to go mobile."

During a press briefing prior to entering the house, Voutour described Tucker as a white male, 5-foot-7, in his mid 40s, heavy set and heavily tattooed.