Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

March 5, 2013

UPDATE: Coroner makes official ruling on gun deaths

GOSHEN — A 48-year-old Goshen woman who was taking college classes and had recently become a paralegal at a local law firm, was gunned down in broad daylight Monday morning while walking to work in downtown Goshen. The gunnman, who was the victim’s ex-boyfriend, then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide, according to Goshen police.

The incident happened around 7:47 a.m. in the 100 block of North Fifth Street, police said, when John Eric Haitsma, 51, a former police officer and Goshen business owner, shot and killed Millicent Morros after a brief discussion between the two individuals. Morros was a paralegal at Yoder, Ainley, Ulmer & Buckingham law office in downtown Goshen and Haitsma owned and operated Haitsma Lawn Care and also worked at Liberty Tax Service. He served as a Goshen police officer from 1990 to 1998 before resigning to start his business.

Upon responding to the scene Monday, Goshen police found two motionless people lying on the ground in the parking lot on the east side of North Fifth Street directly across from the First Quality Cleaners & Laundry business.

Police immediately had the Lincoln Avenue/Fifth Street intersection blocked off with police vehicles, and yellow police tape was used to cordon off nearly the entire block. Numerous investigators, as well as the coroner, could be seen canvassing the street and nearby parking lots for any signs of evidence.

Further investigation and witness statements at the scene confirmed that the two subjects, later identified as Haitsma and Morros, both of Goshen, were known to one another, having previously been in a relationship that reportedly ended earlier this year.

Morros was originally from Niles, Mich.

Since the breakup, Morros had begun seeing somebody else, reported WSBT-TV. That man, Dennis Butler, told the station that Haitsma had kept texting and calling Morros in recent days and even showed up at her Goshen workplace last week.

There were no reports on file with Goshen police of any harassment between Morros and Haitsma.

According to Elkhart County Coroner John White, the death of Morros has been ruled a homicide resulting from multiple gunshot wounds, while Haitsma’s death has been ruled a suicide resulting from a single gunshot wound to the head.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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