An Opelousas man shot and killed his wife late Friday then killed himself, leaving behind their nine children, police said.

Kerry J. Varis, 36, approached his wife, Nancy, 32, about 9:50 p.m. Friday at a family gathering in the 200 block of West Prudhomme Street and shot her once in the head, the Opelousas Police Department said.

According to eyewitnesses, Varis walked away from the residence, pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger. He died at the scene. The weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, was found next to him.

Varis used the same gun to shoot his wife, police said. Nancy Varis died at a hospital.

Officers had responded to a domestic disturbance call involving the Varises at the West Prudhomme Street address earlier on Friday, at 1:30 a.m., police said in a news release.

“Mrs. Varis indicated then that she simply wanted him to leave her sister’s residence,” the release says.

Officers told Varis to leave, and he complied.

Nancy Varis wanted to end their marriage, but Kerry Varis did not, according to family members.

Family also told police that Nancy Varis “felt her husband would never carry out the threats he sometimes made toward her,” the release says.

The nine children left behind range in age from 5 years old to 18 years old. The couple and their children lived at 1125 Plaisance St., according to the release.

“Our prayers go out to their children,” the release says.