Gun deaths of el­derly cou­ple a mur­der-sui­cide, po­lice say

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - IAN MacALPINE imacalpine@post­media.com twit­ter.com/IanMacAlpine

An el­derly cou­ple shot to death in Kingston’s west end have been iden­ti­fied as a 76-year-old Viet­nam War vet­eran and his 78-year-old wife.

On Tues­day morn­ing, Kingston Po­lice re­ceived a 911 call from a dis­traught man who said he had a hand­gun. Shortly af­ter re­ceiv­ing the call, pa­trol of­fi­cers and emer­gency re­sponse team mem­bers en­tered the home on Grace­land Av­enue to find Steven and Glenda Spetz up­stairs with gun­shot wounds.

Glenda Spetz was pro­nounced dead at the scene. Her hus­band was taken to hos­pi­tal, where he later died.

Kingston po­lice said on Wed­nes­day that the man was re­spon­si­ble for his and his wife’s death.

Neigh­bour Zdenka Ko, who has lived on the cor­ner of Grace­land and Lin­coln Drive for the past 24 years, said she knew the cou­ple as friendly but pri­vate.

“Oc­ca­sion­ally we’d wave, but we never re­ally spoke with them,” Ko said. “They kept to them­selves, do­ing the gar­den­ing and such. They spoke to our neigh­bours a lot more, but not to us.”

Ko learned from the neigh­bours liv­ing across the street from the Spet­zes that they had two sons; one lives in Kingston and the other in Europe.

Ko also knew that Steven Spetz was a re­tired high school teacher and Viet­nam War vet­eran who wrote po­lit­i­cal books in his re­tire­ment.

A Google search of Spetz’s name re­veals he wrote three fic­tion books: Nuke Hill in 1987, Yel­low Rain in 1989 and Viet­nam Di­ary in 1996.

Car­rie We­ston would see the cou­ple out­side of their home while she walked her black lab, Emory.

“They were fairly quiet and pri­vate peo­ple, so it would just be a wave,” We­ston, who lives around the cor­ner on For­est Hill Drive, said. “I was kind of hop­ing beyond hope that she passed away from nat­u­ral causes and he was up­set.”

The Spet­zes were in the news more than 31 years ago when they first moved into their home on a wooded lot. They spent two years lob­by­ing Kingston Town­ship coun­cil­lors and the fire chief of the day to ap­prove the name change of the street on which they and one other neigh­bour lived from Ward Street to Grace­land Av­enue, in honour of singer Elvis Pres­ley’s man­sion in Mem­phis, Tenn.

“This is our last ad­dress — our re­tire­ment home,” Glenda Spetz said in a Jan­uary 1986 in­ter­view. “The idea of liv­ing on Ward Street was not at all ap­peal­ing. Grace­land is a much pret­tier name and ap­pro­pri­ate, con­sid­er­ing our fond­ness of Elvis.”

The ex­er­cise cost them about $1,000, “and it was worth ev­ery penny,” Steven Spetz said.

The Spet­zes had vis­ited Grace­land two years ear­lier and felt that the most stir­ring at­trac­tion was the aura of Pres­ley’s pres­ence.

“What im­pressed me was the fact that he was there, imag­in­ing his pres­ence and touch,” said Steven, who at the time taught at Bayridge Sec­ondary School.

“Sure, there’s a cer­tain bit of ec­cen­tric­ity, but don’t for­get we’re talk­ing about the great­est live en­ter­tainer the world has ever known. Mu­sic was dead be­fore Elvis.”

The Spetz res­i­dence was partly based on the real Grace­land man­sion.

“There’s a framed pic­ture of him and Elvis when they met in the army in the ’60s in Ger­many,” Ko said. “It’s in the house. This we know from our neigh­bours.

“He has an Elvis li­cence plate and the neigh­bours tend to call him Elvis.”

Kingston po­lice have handed over the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to the coro­ner’s of­fice.

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