Walla Walla police investigate fatal shooting

A portion of Bonnie Brae Street was shut down Wednesday after what police say appears to be a suicide.

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WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla police closed off a portion of Bonnie Brae Street Wednesday morning after a fatal shooting.

According to Officer Tim Bennett, spokesman for the Walla Walla Police Department, it appears Julie Sphuler, 42, shot herself with a 9 mm handgun at her home at 1031 Bonnie Brae.

Officers arrived on scene less than five minutes after dispatch received a report of the shooting at 8:09 a.m. to find a man and a woman had physically detained Jeffrey Sphuler, 53, outside the home.

Neighbors had apparently heard a gunshot and then saw Jeffrey Sphuler walk outside with a handgun. When Sphuler turned the gun on himself, the neighbors leaped into action.

"A man and a woman wrested the gun away," Bennett said, adding that while detectives are investigating, it appeared Jeffrey Sphuler picked up the gun after his wife shot herself.

An autopsy was scheduled for this morning at 10 a.m..

"This is very sad," Bennett said, adding the pair have several children. "It doesn't sound like any children were present."

No arrests have been made, Bennett said.

Luke Hegdal can be reached at lukehegdal@wwub.com or 526-8326.

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