Friends React to Murder/Suicide

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When Julie Rifkin shot and killed her two boys and herself early Sunday morning, many people were sad, surprised and confused.

She had gone to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs Friday night for a mental health evaluation, after a co-worker, worried about her mental state, called 911.

Memorial Hospital administrators can't comment specifically about Julie's case, citing federal law.

They did tell 11 News she was a volunteer chaplain at Memorial, helping other people deal with their crises.

Julie's crisis seems to have started at 8:00 Friday night when her co-worker called 911.

Dispatcher: "Do you believe she is suicidal?"
Caller: "Yes."
Dispatcher: "Correct?"
Caller: "Correct. And I believe she has a gun in the house."

This caller tells the dispatcher, she's Julie Rifkin's co-worker, and Julie called her earlier that day.

Caller: "She started out saying that I want to go out, get a gun, and shoot myself. And I said, think of your children. And she said, I want to take them with me."

Julie voluntarily went with police to memorial hospital. The hospital evaluated her, and released her, hours later. The medical social worker director says assessing a person's mental state is always difficult, but they go through set protocols.

Tricia continued to call Julie throughout the weekend. She found the Julie and her son shot to death Sunday morning. Another son had been shot and later died at Memorial Hospital.

The El Paso County Health Department says suicide is a growing problem in our community.

Here are a few reminders if you're faced with someone who may be suicidal:

  • Take all suicide threats seriously.
  • Take action... get the person help.
  • Ask questions openly.
  • Show you care.