Police: Man kills girlfriend, self in apartment

Woman's 11-year-old daughter was inside apartment at time, investigators say

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man shot and killed his live-in girlfriend, then killed himself in a murder-suicide early Tuesday morning inside a Regency apartment, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Officers were dispatched to the Kendall Lake Apartments on Kendall Town Boulevard just after 1 a.m.

Police said Stephen Harford, 44, shot Nichelle Simpson, 45, multiple times before turning the gun on himself.

Simpson's 11-year-old daughter was inside the apartment at the time of the murder-suicide, according to police. She is now staying with family.

"It's really unfortunate. They've got a little girl who lives up there with her. She ain't got a mom no more," said Darren Cooley, a friend of Harford's. "I've known him 20 years and he's never been in a fight. So I didn't think this would happen."

Cooley said Harford and Simpson had only been living together in the apartment for six months. He said both of them had been married before, and as far he knew they were happy.

"According to the witnesses in the complex, it was common for the victim and the suspect to fight," JSO Assistant Chief Chris Butler said.

In 2012, Simpson obtained a domestic violence injunction against Harford after he was involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation. That injunction expired this past April and was not extended.

"The suspect was intoxicated and made threats to harm himself and take everyone else out at that time," Butler said. "We seized firearms he had and he was Baker Acted."

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