COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Police say the two people involved in Thursday's murder-suicide in Cottage Grove were a young married couple whose relationship had gone sour.
Tensia Marie Richard, age 22, was fatally shot by her estranged husband after he chased her from a fitness club through a strip mall parking lot and into a Jimmy John's sandwich shop.
Chevel Charles Richard then shot himself in the head. He was transported to a local hospital where he died from his wounds.
Court records show that 22-year-old Chevel Richard was arrested in June of 2011 after police responded to a report of domestic assault. An order for protection was issued for Richard, but it was dismissed in August of 2011. He was later convicted of domestic assault.
The couple eventually reconciled but it didn't last. Cottage Grove Director of Public Safety Craig Woolery says Chevel and Tensia Richard had recently separated, and Tensia was moving towards filing for divorce.
The couple is survived by two small children who are being cared for by their maternal grandparents.
The fatal episode began Thursday around 3:30 p.m. when Chevel Richard summoned Tensia Richard outside Anytime Fitness where she was working out. Witnesses tell police that the two were having a conversation when Chevel Richard pulled out a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol and began firing. Several shots struck the front of Anytime Fitness, one shattering a door.
A significant number of witnesses looked on as Richard chased his wife around the parking lot, firing the gun at her. Eventually Tensia Richard ran inside Jimmy John's where the fatal shots were fired.
"This is a sad loss," said Woolery, "very frightening for a lot of people who saw what happened here."
Anytime Fitness spokesman Mark Daly confirms Tensia Richard had only been a member of Anytime Fitness for one week, and was not well known to staff or other club members. Computer records show she had been working out for about 30 minutes before the shooting began. Daly says surveillance video from the club has been turned over to Cottage Grove Police.
Investigators are also looking at surveillance video from Jimmy John's.
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