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Read our latest newsletter: February 2017.

Murder-suicide victims mourned

In 2001, Waltham police detective Kevin O’Connor was honored for his bravery in thwarting an attempted armed robbery. Friends, family, and fellow officers crowded a City Hall chamber for the ceremony.

That summer, O’Connor and a fellow officer saw a heavily armed man trying to break into a shop, and when they confronted him, the robber tried to take O’Connor’s gun. After O’Connor’s partner shot the man, the officers applied pressure to his wounds to staunch the bleeding.

Last week, authorities say, O’Connor killed his wife, Jeannine, in their Waltham home. After shooting his wife multiple times, he took his own life.

Police discovered their bodies Saturday afternoon, and authorities identified the couple Tuesday, prompting an outpouring of condolences among those who knew the family.

“This is a tragic incident of domestic violence in which a husband was responsible for taking his wife’s life and then taking his own,” said Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.

Local and state police are investigating the case. Waltham police Wednesday referred questions to the district attorney’s office, which declined to say whether anything precipitated the killing.

The O’Connors were both 51.

An obituary for Jeannine O’Connor said she was “born to be a really great grandmother.”

“She loved her role and loved her two grandchildren even more,” the obituary read. She will “forever be remembered with love and affection by a family who will cherish the memory of her sweet smile and her generous spirit.”

She had worked for years as a waitress at Il Capriccio, an Italian restaurant in Waltham. In a Facebook posting on Wednesday, the restaurant remembered her as “such an important part of our Il Capriccio family.”

“We love and miss her,” the message read. “Her gentle spirit of kindness and warmth will be with us in the restaurant every day. We raise a glass to her.”

Rich Barron, the restaurant’s owner, remembered O’Connor as “the sweetest, most wonderful person ever.”

“We’re going to celebrate her every day,” he said.

Jeannine O’Connor was raised in Watertown, where she was a graduate of St. Patrick’s High School. She leaves her children, Jessica A. Crusco and her husband, Stephen, of Waltham, Colleen M. O’Connor and her fiancé, Brendon Clark, of Boston, and Ryan C. O’Connor of Waltham; her sister, Cheryl Martino and her husband, Tony, of Watertown, and several nieces and nephews.

About one-third of domestic violence homicides nationally are followed by a suicide, said Toni Troop, a spokeswoman for Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.

In Massachusetts, about 24 percent of fatal domestic violence incidents from 2003 to 2012 included perpetrators who committed suicide. Over that span, domestic violence accounted for 14 percent of all homicide deaths in the state, the group said in a report released last year.

Nearly 90 percent of domestic homicides are committed by men, and almost 72 percent of victims are female, the report found.

“It is the very rare circumstance where there was no history of domestic violence and abuse,” Troop said. “In the vast majority, there are clear warning signs for lethality.”

Kevin O’Connor, a lifelong resident of Waltham, was a retired detective and had worked as a private investigator, according to his obituary. In 2002, O’Connor was placed on paid leave after he was arrested and charged with drunken driving. He pleaded not guilty.

Most recently, he had worked at Fiorella’s Restaurant in Newton, where he was scheduled to work as a bartender Saturday night but did not show up. Employees called to check on him, but he never picked up.

Police found the couple after a family member called asking for a well-being check. Police remained at the home throughout the night, and removed at least two rifles and a small box.


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