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Man Shot Girlfriend, Killed Self at Franklin Apartment, Prosecutor Says

Authorities are calling Tuesday's shooting a murder-suicide.

The Tuesday shooting at a Franklin apartment complex that took the life of a man and a woman was a murder-suicide, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's office.

Manuel Rodriguez, 50, shot his live-in girlfriend of nine years, Wilma Diaz, 34, inside their apartment before taking his own life, Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano said. Diaz, who had been transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in critical condition earlier on Tuesday subsequently died, according to Soriano.

An investigation by the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Squad and Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics Unit found that Rodriguez notified a family member to call police and come over to the apartment to pick up his 14-month-old child because something had happened either immediately before or after he shot Diaz, Soriano said. Rodgriguez then went into his bedroom, where he shot himself in the head, Soriano said.

Officers and responding medics from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital were able to perform life saving measures on Diaz, who was then transported to the hospital, before she later died. Rodriguez was declared dead at the scene.

Soriano said that Franklin Township police responded to a squad call to 165 Hempstead Drive at the Hempstead Gardens apartments in the Somerset section of Frankling Township at 11:38 a.m. on Tuesday. Upon arrival, officers encountered a frantic female outside of the residence with a young child, Soriano said. Officers discovered Diaz in the living room hallway upon entering the apartment, before locating Rodriguez in the bedroom, Soriano said.

Autopsies are scheduled at the Medical Examiner's Office. Anyone with information pertaining to the incident is asked to contact the Franklin Township Police Department at 732-873-5533, the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Squad at 908-231-7100, or the Somerset County Crime Stoppers' Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS. Those with information can also report online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net and click on either “Crime Stoppers” or “TIPS HOTLINE.” All calls are confidential, Soriano said.

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