Military, police had contact with shooter before murder-suicide
By Christine Dempsey | The Hartford Courant | Published: June 8, 2014
BRISTOL, Connecticut — Days before a Connecticut Guardsman killed his wife and himself, his military counselor was so concerned about his demeanor during a phone conversation she called the police, a Guard spokesman said Friday.
City police visited the Henderson Street home of 1st Lt. Alexander Ryng on May 31 — for the second time that day — but police said there was no reason to take any action.
On June 4, Ryng fatally shot his wife, Kyla, then turned the gun on himself, leaving two of their three young children running next door to their grandmother's house for help.
Officers first visited the house the morning of Saturday, May 31, and talked with Kyla, who said her husband's brother, Skyler Ryng, had come into the house uninvited and grabbed her arm. Skyler Ryng, 28, had accused her of cheating on his younger brother, according to a warrant. Skyler later was charged with burglary and breach of peace.
Police returned to the house that afternoon after receiving the call from the behavioral counselor, who works for the Connecticut Army National Guard.
Col. John T. Wiltse, the Guard's director of public affairs, said the counselor asked police for a welfare check after talking with both Kyla and her husband on the phone. The counselor had called Alex Ryng to find out why he had not shown up for a counseling appointment that afternoon.
"Our counselor felt the lieutenant generally was not responsive to her questions and that Mrs. Ryng was presenting as emotional," Wiltse said.
The counselor was aware of the incident with Skyler because Kyla had called her about it, and she had advised Kyla to call police, Wiltse said.
The counselor also told police that Alex Ryng had gone to his supervisors a day earlier, upset about his marital problems and saying his wife had filed for divorce. He also said he might need some time off, Wiltse said.
Wiltse said that "both military supervisors and his assigned behavioral counselor maintained various levels of contacts with both the Ryngs and provided counseling and support services up to Tuesday night," the night before the murder-suicide.
Alex Ryng also was referred to marital counseling services, Wiltse said. An appointment was set up for June 18.
Police applied for a warrant for Skyler Ryng's arrest on Sunday. It was signed by a judge the next day, and officers seized his guns on Tuesday.
When police received the call from the counselor last Saturday afternoon, two officers were sent to the house and spoke with both Alex and Kyla Ryng, Det. Lt. Kevin Morrell said.
Morrell said he didn't know further details of what happened when the officers visited because he didn't have the reports, one of which wasn't finished, he said.
He said if either person had an injury, the officers would have made an arrest.
There was no record of domestic violence between Kyla and her husband, and no restraining or protective orders. But there were "red flags," said Karen Jarmoc, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
"These things just don't happen overnight. There has to be a previous pattern," she said.
One of the people who seemed to notice red flags was Kyla Ryng's mother, Michele Brasley.
In a taped call to 911 after the murder-suicide, Brasley told police, "I knew he was going to do this."