Details emerge in brothers' dispute ending in murder, suicide - KCTV5

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Details emerge in brothers' dispute ending in murder, suicide

Posted: Updated:
MERRIAM, KS (KCTV) -

New details have emerged in what led up to a man police believe shot and killed his brother outside an office building before killing himself.

There were warnings two weeks before last Thursday's deadly shooting that included a letter left for the shooter's landlord at a Merriam apartment complex.

The letter came with Robert Pruitt's November rent check, a Johnson County assistant district attorney said, suggesting Pruitt might be dead before the next rent payment was due.

An ex-girlfriend told police Pruitt was bipolar.

"The thing about bipolar disorder is once they get in that mania stage, they're like, I'm fine, I feel good, I don't need anything, and they stop taking their medication," therapist Susan Howard-Perry said.

Howard-Perry has treated maximum security prisoners with bipolar disorder. Though she doesn't know the history of Pruitt's family, she says many families face a version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

"An analogy might be an individual with depression, severe depression, who says all the time, 'I'm going to hurt myself,' but they never really do. And sometimes, as a family, this becomes the norm," Howard-Perry said.

That might explain why the 58-year-old shooter's younger brother didn't appear concerned that Pruitt's threats would become reality.

Robert Pruitt allegedly killed his brother, Todd Pruitt, in a Mission parking lot last Thursday while his brother was walking into work.

Police said Robert Pruitt then shot himself several hours later near 102nd and Holmes streets as they were closing in on him.

On Nov. 2, the same day as the landlord's ominous letter, there was a note to Robert Pruitt's sister specifically indicating he planned to kill Todd, as well as himself.

The assistant district attorney said police checked on Todd Pruitt and filled him in, but the younger brother did not seem concerned.

"It is draining dealing with someone like that. It is draining, and they can only do so much. And they have their own lives to live as well," Howard-Perry said.

From Nov. 2 on, the assistant district attorney said, police used Robert Pruitt's cell phone to locate him. The pings hit all over and outside the metro.

Every place police went, Robert Pruitt was gone, one step ahead of them, all the way to his final place where he was already dead when police arrived.

Click here to read previous coverage.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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