A New Orleans man killed his ailing wife and then turned the gun on himself in a murder-suicide that happened sometime last week, police said Friday.
Police believe Raymond Ambrose Jr., 78, killed his wife, Margaret, 72, inside their home in the 1400 block of Desire Street, then shot himself.
Neighbor Keicia Laney, who lived in the other half of a shotgun double house with the Ambroses, described them as a loving couple but said that in recent months, Margaret Ambrose’s health problems had appeared to worsen.
Laney said Margaret Ambrose, while “feisty,” was worn down by diabetes, back problems and high blood pressure, and had trouble getting out of the house.
Laney, who was not familiar with how police believe her neighbors died when interviewed Thursday, remembered Margaret Ambrose once saying, “We’ve been married for 50-odd years, and I still like him.”
Laney said she began smelling a powerful odor through the vents of her side of the house on June 17. Two days later, after repeated calls, Laney’s landlord sent exterminators to the residence. But the smell continued.
Finally, Laney said, on June 20 she called the Ambroses’ son, Raymond Ambrose III, a New Orleans police officer, who came to the house and discovered his parents dead on their living room couch.
The younger Ambrose normally dropped by the house frequently to check on his aging parents, Laney said, but he had been waiting until Father’s Day for another visit.
The coroner has yet to release a determination in the case, but New Orleans Police Department spokesman Tyler Gamble said Friday that the case was a suspected murder-suicide.
When reached Friday, Raymond Ambrose III said he was not aware of the circumstances of his parents’ death.
The NOPD noted in a preliminary offense log on Sunday that the couple had been found dead in their house. A commander openly discussed the case as a murder-suicide in a Wednesday Comstat meeting, but the department had not issued a news release about the deaths as of Friday afternoon.
“This incident happened in the middle of a citywide manhunt for a suspect who killed a police officer, along with other reported homicides throughout the weekend,” Gamble said. “The NOPD has been in communication with the family throughout the investigation. It is a tragic situation for everyone involved.”
All through the week, Laney said, she had watched friends of the Ambroses drop by to check on the pair. It fell to her to inform them that the couple was dead.
“I gotta sit there and watch these people cry,” Laney said while cradling her son on her front steps. “It’s very difficult.”