ROOSEVELT PARK, Mich. - — The woman in the car with her young children at the time of an apparent murder-suicide in Roosevelt Park earlier this week says the incident happened because of mental health issues.
READ: Brothers dead after shooting inside car in Roosevelt Park
In an interview with FOX17, Alexis Tjapkes, says the suspected shooter, Quintae Hunter, expressed feelings of self harm and depression in recent weeks.
According to family, Quintae shot his younger brother, Darion Hunter.
“We noticed he had been acting kind of distant and withdrawn a lot lately,” said Tjapkes.
Tjapkes is Darion’s partner. They have two children, ages 2 and 4, who were also in the car during the shooting.
She called Darion a loving, thoughtful young man and a wonderful father.
“I’m angry by the way this happened and how traumatic it is,” said Tjapkes. “To experience it with my kids… it’s like they know what happened, but they don’t know what happened.”
READ: ‘We all miss him so much:’ Family, witness, others speak on Roosevelt Park shooting
Tjapkes says the shooting late Tuesday night as she and Darion were dropping Quintae off at their sister’s apartment in Tiffany Woods.
“As I was getting ready to turn into Tiffany Woods, and there wasn’t no music playing, there wasn’t no words, there wasn’t anything, it was just out of the blue, I just heard a gun going off,” said Tjapkes. “I just saw the dash, the windshield was busted.”
Despite the shock, Tjapkes managed to stop and get her children out of the car.
She called emergency authorities and as police arrived, she says Quintae turned the gun on himself.
“I haven’t really took the time to understand and really sit down and think about the trauma I just experienced because I’m so focused on what I’ve lost right now, [but] I don’t feel okay,” said Tjapkes.
Despite the warning signs of mental health issues, Tjapkes says no one in their family expected something like this to happen.
She said Darion looked forward to the time he spent with his older brother.
“He was so excited to be around his brother again,” said Tjapkes. “It was nothing but love. It was just a regular relationship. He was with him whenever he needed him, brought him to work.”
For anyone who feels similarly, Tjapkes wants to remind them that the pain eventually goes away.
“It’s important to be very vocal about how you feel because no one really knows what goes on in the next person’s mind or what mind frame they’re in,” said Tjapkes. “When people tell us things, especially things that are horrible, like they want to kill themselves or they’re not feeling good, believe them.”
She added, “It’s really hard to think you’re going to be okay, but I just know I will be.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover funeral costs. Any additional funds raised will go towards Tjapkes’ children.
To donate, click here.
If you or someone you know needs mental health help or is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.