Vt. suspect despondent at wife’s death, relatives say


SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (AP) – A Vermont man who wounded two strangers in a motel parking lot before fatally shooting himself Thursday was distraught over his wife’s accidental overdose death earlier this year, according to family members.

Relatives of Joseph Mroczek, 43, say the Vernon, Vt., man told them he intended to travel to Connecticut to visit the Bristol cemetery where his wife’s ashes were interred.

Mroczek was so distraught over her death that he purchased a handgun and threatened to kill himself, said Marcel Jalbert, the stepfather of Mroczek’s late wife, Laurie Anne Mroczek. The couple had been married for about 15 years and had no children, Jalbert said. She accidentally overdosed on painkillers four months ago and died in her husband’s arms before paramedics could arrive, Jalbert said.

“He didn’t want to go on without her in his life,” Jalbert said. Instead, Southington police say, Mroczek shot two strangers in the parking lot of the Traveler’s Inn on Thursday night before fatally shooting himself in the head.

The men injured in the shootings, 40-year-old motel clerk Navin Aluria of Southington and 31-year-old Carlos Roque of Yonkers, N.Y., remained hospitalized Friday. Southington detectives plan to visit Vermont to talk with Mroczek’s relatives for more information on what might have prompted his actions.

“It was an unprovoked attack,” Southington police Sgt. Lowell DePalma said.

Information from: New Britain Herald, www.newbritainherald.com, and The Hartford Courant, www.courant.com

AP-ES-07-28-07 1644EDT