Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ) –An investigation is underway into what led to the killings of a city firefighter and his girlfriend in Anne Arundel County.
Dozens gathered Sunday night to remember the couple reportedly gunned down by a Baltimore City police officer who then turned the gun on himself.
Rochelle Ritchie was there and has more from the family of one of the victims.
The pain these two families feel is unfathomable. It is their first time ever meeting and it couldn’t be under worse circumstances.
Dozens filled the street in front of the home of 27-year-old Baltimore City firefighter Andrew Hoffman, where he and his girlfriend, 26-year-old Marie Hartman, were gunned down just after 1 a.m. Sunday.
“They’re never going to forget you. They’re watching down on every single one of us,” a loved one said.
Hartman, a mother of a 6-year-old boy, had recently started dating Hoffman.
Sunday night, their families met under the most unthinkable circumstances.
“We’re just trying to get through this terrible ordeal, and we just don’t know why,” a loved one said.
Anne Arundel County Police say Baltimore City police officer Christopher Lee Robinson, 37, shot and killed Hoffman and Hartman inside the home before shooting himself.
Hartman’s sister heard the horrific murders.
Police say Hartman’s younger sister actually hid in a closet during the shooting and had to jump out of a window to escape.
Heavy hearts gripped candles in their memory–the pain of losing two lives, so senselessly unbearable.
“People loved them both and they will truly be missed,” said Eddie Cocker, family friend.
Hartman’s heartbroken parents are thankful for his courage.
“Putting his life on the line for my daughter, he was a hero even off duty,” Hartman’s mother said.
Police rushed to Hoffman’s home in the 1900-block of Armistead Street just after 1:30 a.m. Sunday and found all three dead at the scene.
“We were quickly able to determine through our investigation that this was a murder-suicide. It was a domestic type of relationship going on,” said Lt. T.J. Smith, Anne Arundel County Police.
Family friends say Hartman was the ex-girlfriend of the 37-year-old police officer and had recently begun dating Hoffman.
Hoffman, a third generation firefighter, appeared on WJZ in July after he was recognized for safely returning a wandering toddler to his home. Click here to read that story.
“I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I was dumbfounded,” he said then. “He’s just a trooper walking down the road like he knows where he’s going.”
“This just shows a lot of character of this young man who was gunned down in this murder-suicide early this morning,” Lt. Smith said.
The fire department released the following statement on his murder:
“Our hearts are saddened with news of the tragic death of FF/PM Andrew Hoffman. A third-generation member of the Fire Department, Andrew had served the city of Baltimore since 2006. We offer sincere condolences to the Hoffman family as they grieve this terrible loss. They are in the thoughts of every member of the Baltimore City Fire Department today.”
This is the second Baltimore City police officer this year to pull the trigger during a lover’s quarrel.
In May, Baltimore City police officer James Smith shot and killed the mother of his child, Kendra Diggs.
Smith and Robinson both came from military backgrounds.
In a statement, Baltimore City Police say, “While at present there are no indications that a military deployment was the cause of this incident, this department recognizes the tremendous sacrifice made by the men and women who serve in the military. The BPD is committed to ensuring that those men and women are given all the assistance they require when they return home. For now, the prayers of both the fire department and police department will be with the families impacted by this tragedy.”
And in their statement to WJZ, Hoffman’s family says investigators have told them he was not the target of this murder. To read the full statement from Hoffman’s family, click here.
Anne Arundel County Police say there did not appear to be forced entry on the firefighter’s home.
Hartman’s family says they hope the couple can be buried together.
Baltimore City Police say the gunman joined the department in 2009.
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