Husband, wife spoke moments prior double-murder, suicide in Tallassee

Updated: Jun. 20, 2018 at 6:47 PM CDT
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TALLASSEE, AL (WSFA) - The 43-year-long marriage between Harold and Tresea Miller had its ups and downs, which by many accounts was nothing out of the ordinary – until now.

Police continue to search for what triggered the unexpected fatal turn in their relationship.

Tallassee Police Chief Matt Higgins says Harold Miller followed his wife and her mother, Barbara Buttles, to Walmart Tuesday morning and waited for them to leave.

"From some of our investigations, it looks like they had a brief conversation in the parking lot," Higgins explained. "When they tried to leave is when the incident occurred."

Harold Miller reportedly rammed his car into his wife's vehicle, got out of the car and began firing, fatally striking Tresea and her mother, then he turned the gun on himself. All were pronounced dead on the scene.

Investigators confirm Harold Miller used a personal handgun in the shooting. Upwards of 10 rounds were fired.

Prior to the shooting there's no official record of domestic violence. The Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office responded to the Millers' house twice in 2017 and twice in 2018, but no charges were filed.

The only court records in the system connected to the couple were filed on Monday. Documents indicate Tresea Miller sought a Protection from Abuse order, which was granted by the court on Tuesday at 10:06 a.m., less than ten minutes before the shooting.

Sheriff Jimmy Abbett confirmed his office had not received a hard copy of the order to serve to Harold Miller at the time the incident unfolded. Protection orders are not active until the defendant is served with the paperwork.

Higgins confirmed his office had no prior experience with the Millers, and has ordered officers to work this case as if it was going to trial to attempt to determine what led Harold Miller to his breaking point.

"Even though our suspect is deceased, we are going to treat it like any other case that we investigate," Higgins explained. "We are going through all the records, cell phones, and looking at all the evidence that pertains to the case."

One of the Millers' children spoke to WSFA, assuring viewers Harold Miller loved his wife, and didn't feel this was premeditated, stating nothing was out of the ordinary.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, The Family Sunshine Center is here to help, including weighing the options with victims to determine the best way to safety. The 24-hour crisis line is 1-800-650-6522.

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