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Ex-Cop Allegedly Gunned Down Wife Trying To Escape His Abuse, Her Adult Daughter

Retired Virginia police officer Richard Crowder allegedly shot and killed his estranged wife, Diane Crowder, and adult stepdaughter, Carrie Szaksz, as movers were working in the couple's home.

By Dorian Geiger
A police handout of Richard Colon Crowder

A former Virginia police officer shot and killed his wife and stepdaughter as his spouse was moving out of the couple’s home, officials said.

Richard Colon Crowder, 60, has been arrested on a pair of second-degree murder charges in the slayings of his 53-year-old wife Diane Crowder and 35-year-old stepdaughter Carrie Szaksz. He was also charged with malicious wounding and three counts of firearm use in commission of a felony, according to online jail records.

Police were initially dispatched to the couple’s home at 7655 Phillips Wood Drive in Henrico, Virginia — a northern suburb of Richmond — at approximately 9:35 a.m. on July 2 after reports of a shooting, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Upon arrival, Richard Crowder allegedly barricaded himself inside the residence and engaged law enforcement in a nine-hour standoff. Officials said he exchanged fire with responding officers before finally surrendering himself to police.

After gaining entry to the property, investigators discovered the bodies of Diane Crowder and Szaksz. According to court documents, the two women were fatally shot as the older woman was moving her things out of the couple’s home.

Police later learned movers had been present inside the couple’s home at the time shots rang out, charging documents stated. They said that woman in the home warned the two movers to steer clear of Richard Crowder because he was “drunk and agitated.”

The movers told detectives they later heard the man shout “f--k you,” followed by four and eight gunshots. The two movers ultimately “fled the residence by jumping from the second-floor window,” the case’s affidavit stated.

Diane Crowder’s family said she and her stepdaughter were trying to escape an abusive situation, according to Richmond television station WTVR.

“She said, 'I just want to have some peace,” Judy Pulley, Crowder’s aunt, told the outlet. “I want to have a peaceful life.”

In the days leading up to the deadly incident, Diane Crowder had also told her family that her husband had been “acting crazy” as she began slowly moving her personal items out of the couple’s home. The slain woman’s aunt described Richard Crowder as “evil.”

Diane Crowder is survived by an 18-year-old son. Szaksz leaves behind a fiancé.

"I hope they won't be remembered for the way they died, but the way they lived," Pulley added. "Which was very giving, loving." 

The family has since set up a GoFundMe to help cover the women’s funeral expenses.

Richard Crowder previously served 28 years with the Henrico Police Department, according to WTVR-TV. He retired in 2014 as a K9 officer, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

A judge from Montgomery County, Virginia — about 200 miles away — presided over the Richard Crowder's arraignment due to a possible conflict of interest related to his police career in the county. His next court appearance is currently scheduled for Aug. 19. It’s unclear if he’s retained legal counsel to comment on his behalf. 

Crowder was booked into a Henrico County detention facility on July 2, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. He’s being held without bail.