KEY POINTS

  • Police said that John Dufford killed his 62-year-old sister after a physical altercation
  • John was intoxicated when he got into a dispute with his sister
  • In May, he was charged with simple assault and making terroristic threats

In a murder-suicide incident, a brother fatally shot his sister before turning the gun on himself following a domestic dispute, authorities said. The incident took place Wednesday in Westmoreland County in Pennsylvania.

The Westmoreland County coroner said John Dufford, 59, and Karen Dufford, 62, were involved in a physical altercation, which escalated and the man discharged a firearm, hitting the woman multiple times. Two minutes later, John shot himself in the head.

Police Chief Duane Fisher told local media outlets that John was intoxicated when he got into a dispute with his sister and assaulted her.

"Officers were dispatched to the home at about 11:30 p.m. for a report of a domestic (dispute), but the man had already left on foot by the time they arrived," Fisher said. While officers were interviewing Karen and her mother, who lives in the home, John reached the Allegheny Township's police station and called the dispatchers from there. 

"We don't know if he actually wanted to speak to an officer or if the call was made to try and distract us," Fisher said. "The officers at the home went to the station, but the man was gone when they got there."

Officers launched a search for John. They were preparing to file assault charges against him when they received a call from Karen but it became disconnected. Officers then called the residence only to find out that a shooting has taken place in the house. 

According to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, John was charged with simple assault and making terroristic threats back in May. He was arrested but later released on a $20,000 unsecured bond. He was scheduled to appear before District Judge Cheryl Peck-Yakopec in late November.

crime scene Representational image Photo: Getty Images/Jonathan Alcorn