GOSHEN — The victim of a shooting Monday morning in downtown Goshen Monday was known for her friendliness and outgoing personality, according to a colleague.
Millicent Morros, 48, was shot and killed in a parking lot on the east side of Fifth Street at about 7:45 a.m. The shooter, 51-year-old Eric Haitsma, shot and killed himself after he shot Morros. According to a press release from the Goshen Police Department, Morros and Haitsma had been in a previous relationship. Police gathered from witnesses that the shooting Monday morning followed a brief discussion between Morros and Haitsma.
The Goshen Police Department had no record of Morros filing a domestic issue involving Haitsma, said the public information officer. Haitsma worked at the Goshen Police Department as an officer from 1990 to 1998. He resigned in 1998 to open his own business, according to police. He had operated Haitsma Lawn Care.
At the scene, Morros’s co-workers from the law firm Yoder, Ainlay, Ulmer and Buckingham, gathered across the street behind their offices. Shaken, they hugged and cried as they watched first responders work.
Morros was an estate paralegal at the firm.
Police blocked Fifth Street between Clinton and Lincoln as soon as they arrived. Paramedics were called to the scene but left a few minutes after arriving. The two bodies laid uncovered on the parking lot for about 30 minutes before police placed a white sheet on each of them. Morros’s bag was next to her. Elkhart County Coroner John White arrived at the scene and worked with police before the bodies were removed.
Kim Mumaw, a stylist at First Impressions salon just across the street from where the shooting happened, said she was inside with a client when they both heard four gunshots.
Others passing by stopped to look as members of the Crime Scene Unit worked at the scene. Police cleared from the scene and opened the street around noon.
A VALUED EMPLOYEE AND FRIEND
“She was a terrific lady,” said Denise Davis, an attorney at the law firm. “She was my secretary for two years and she recently got an internal promotion to become an estate paralegal.”
Morros started working at the at Yoder, Ainlay, Ulmer and Buckingham in July 2010. She would often participate in a program in which she would read to children in local public schools.
“She was very sweet. Very friendly,” she said. “She had a good spirit and great disposition.”
Davis said Morros didn’t have any children.
“She was a valued employee and friend, and will be deeply missed by all of her colleagues in the firm,” according to a statement from the law firm.
Morros was also a current student at Goshen College. According to a statement from Goshen College President James Brenneman, Morros was about to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership through its adult education program.
Morros graduated from Niles High School and earned an associate degree from Southwestern Michigan College. She had been enrolled at the Goshen College program since 2011.
“This is a tremendous loss for Millicent’s family and friends, and we invite your prayers for them at this difficult time,” said the statement, which was sent to staff and students before being released to the media.
Haitsma WAS “FUN-LOVING AND UPBEAT”
Brian Conwell, owner of Liberty Tax Service at 187 W. County Road 6 in Elkhart, said Haitsma worked for him from January 2012 to March 2012 and again from January 2013 to March 2013.
“His general personality was pretty fun-loving and upbeat, but recently he had some personal issues he was dealing with,” Conwell said. “In the short time I had known him he had become a good friend and I will miss him.”
Sister was killed in similar waY
WSBT reports that Morros’ older sister, Valerie Morros, was killed in a similar incident in 1991.
According to the report, Valerie Morros, 26, and Ronald Schalliol, 27, were shot and killed in a Niles Township, Mich. home.
Police later found Jay Scott Wilson, 27, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
This is the second murder-suicide in Elkhart County in the last four months.
On Dec. 1, 2012, Ervin K. Howard, 63, killed Debbie McDowell, 45, in the parking lot of the former American Countryside Farmers Market and called police before committing suicide in a car in the parking lot behind the vacant Poor Tony’s restaurant in the 2100 block of West Franklin.
Truth reporter Emily Pfund contributed to this story.
Goshen police investigate possible homicide; 2 bodies found (UPDATED)Police confirm Goshen shooting was murder-suicideGoshen woman killed by man from prior relationship