[Note: this story has been modified since its original posting to correct a grammatical error.]
Lloyd and Deloris Hazell were found dead at their home Monday afternoon in a subdivision north of Columbia, but their teenage granddaughter escaped the house unharmed.
Police said Lloyd Hazell, 66, shot and killed his wife, 68, before shooting himself. The couple had been married for about three years, according to police.
Officers went to the home on Wallaby Way at 3 p.m. after a report of shots fired, according to West District Sgt. John White. Police found the couple dead, he said.
Yellow police tape surrounded a section of the Hazells’ home at 108 Wallaby Way shortly after police arrived. Behind the tape was a well-kept cream-colored house with black trim with a small shrub garden and lawn ornaments. The only sign of distress was a mangled window screen lying on one of the garden’s porcelain squirrels in front of the house.
Police said the Hazells’ 15-year-old granddaughter escaped through a bedroom window in front of the house. She had been visiting since Friday and was present when the apparent homicide and suicide occurred, police said.
About an hour after the investigation began, other relatives started to arrive at the Hazell residence. Embracing one another and sobbing, they huddled behind a forensic police van parked in front of the house.
Some neighbors stood on their porches watching the family’s emotional reunion in the Hazells’ driveway. Neighbors said the spot was a place where they often saw Lloyd Hazell sitting in a lawn chair reading the newspaper and waving at people passing by.
Charlene Koop lives across the street on Wallaby Way and knew the Hazells. She said they moved to the neighborhood about nine months ago.
“He would always sit out in the front and wave to everyone,” Koop said. “We met them at the neighborhood pool where our grandchildren would swim together. They were very nice people.”
Most of the homes in the Vanderveen Crossing subdivision were constructed in 2004.
Koop heard the gunshots, but thought they were part of the construction going on in the neighborhood.
“I heard three loud pops but didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “I just thought they were the builders making noise.”
While taking her afternoon walk, Kim McGee passed by the crime scene with her children.
“I feel safe, but something like this is very unsettling,” McGee said. “It never crossed my mind something like this could happen in my neighborhood.”
Said George Smoot, a neighbor of the Hazells: “This type of thing happens everywhere. It is no reason to be afraid. You just pay more attention to it when it happens in your front yard.”