HARTFORD — A man who authorities say killed three women and himself at a Connecticut apartment complex had a child support dispute with one victim, and both were arrested during a domestic argument this year, according to court records obtained Monday by The Associated Press.
Police identified the gunman Monday as John Lynn, 41, of no certain address, and the victims as Brittany Mills, 28, and Kameisha Mills, 23, both of Manchester; and Artara Benson, 46, of Union Township in Union County, N.J.
Lynn was the father of Brittany Mills’ 13-month-old son, relatives said, and the three women were cousins.
Lynn shot the three women to death Saturday night in Brittany Mills’ home at the Dye House Apartments in Manchester, about nine miles east of Hartford, police said. He then left the converted mill carrying a 13-month-old, whom he let go unharmed shortly before shooting himself to death in the head in front of police officers, authorities said. Police didn’t confirm whether the child was his son. One officer fired at shot at Lynn but missed, police said.
Lynn was upset that Brittany Mills wanted to end their relationship, but there were no indications that he would become so violent, her sister, Tashua Parker, told the AP on Monday.
“I’m just hoping to wake up and see this is a dream, but every minute that I’m awake I realize I can’t turn back the hands of time,” Parker said.
“It’s not fair,” she said. “I not only lost my sister. I lost my cousins.”
Kameisha Mills and Benson, who was visiting family in the Hartford area, went to Brittany Mills’ apartment Saturday after becoming concerned she wasn’t answering her phone, Parker said. Brittany Mills was fine when her cousins arrived, and the three went to a mall, Parker said.
Sometime after they returned, Parker said, Lynn shot them.
Brittany Mills was shot multiple times in her head and Kameisha Mills, Benson and Lynn were each shot once in the head, according to the chief medical examiner’s office, which ruled the women’s deaths homicides and Lynn’s death a suicide.
Brittany Mills filed for child support from Lynn in March in state court in Hartford, and he was ordered in April to pay her $71 a week. He asked a magistrate in August to reduce the payment amount, saying his unemployment compensation was being decreased, but his request was rejected, according to court records.
Lynn had held delivery jobs at a pizza restaurant and, more recently, a dental clinic, court records show.
Lynn and Brittany Mills both were arrested in Manchester in June on disorderly conduct charges in connection with a nonviolent argument they had at Mills’ apartment, where Lynn once lived, according to court records and Lynn’s lawyer, Herman Woodard.
Lynn’s case was pending at the time of the shootings, while prosecutors dropped the case against Brittany Mills, Woodard said.
Woodard also said there were no signs that Lynn would become violent.
“He was a very pleasant guy,” Woodard said. “That’s what’s really shocking about it. My interactions with him were always pleasant and friendly.”
Lynn also had a child support and paternity case involving another woman and their 10-year-old son, court records show. He was ordered to pay her $50 a week last year, and that amount was raised to $71 a week in July, records show.
He was jailed in October for failing to pay support for the 10-year-old. He was freed after paying $500 and ordered to enroll in a program to find a job. He also sought joint custody of the boy.