CASPER, Wyo. – Police released more details Saturday of a grisly murder-suicide at a Wyoming community college, saying a man shot his father in the head with a bow and arrow in front of a computer science class not long after fatally stabbing his father’s live-in girlfriend at their home a couple of miles away.
Computer science instructor James Krumm, 56, may have saved some of his students’ lives Friday by giving them time to flee while trying to fend off his son, Christopher Krumm, 25, of Vernon, Conn., Casper Police Chief Chris Walsh said.
“I can tell you the courage that was demonstrated by Mr. Krumm was absolutely without equal,” he said, adding that his actions could offer some measure of comfort to those affected by the killings.
Walsh said police still were trying to figure out what motivated Christopher Krumm to attack his father and girlfriend, 42-year-old Heidi Arnold, a math instructor at the college. Arnold was found stabbed to death in front of the home she shared with James Krumm.
After shooting his father with the arrow, Christopher Krumm stabbed himself, then fatally stabbed his father in the chest in a struggle in the classroom, Walsh said.
Police arrived to find James Krumm dead and Christopher Krumm barely living; the younger Krumm died soon after students fled in a panic. Authorities locked down the campus for two hours.
Police began getting reports about the attack on Arnold soon after they responded by the dozen to the campus attack.
Christopher Krumm had smuggled the compound bow — a type much more powerful and effective for hunting than a simple, wooden bow — onto campus beneath a blanket, Walsh said.
He said Christopher Krumm also had two knives with him, and the knife used was “very large.”
“It’s one of those situations you don’t think is going to come home. It’s not going to happen here,” Walsh said.
Arnold died of multiple stab wounds. Her body was found in the gutter of her street, and evidence suggested much of the attack occurred outside the home, Walsh said.
Heather Meier, who lives across the street, said she came home from work Friday afternoon after picking up her 7-year-old daughter from school, and the two saw Arnold’s body still lying in the street.
“As soon as we got home, we just shut the curtains,” she said. “You know, tried to just watch some TV, have some snacks, mind our own business.”
Meier, who has lived in the neighborhood for two years, said she met Arnold and James Krumm only once a few months ago and described the couple as very private. “They were kind of different. Really quiet. Nothing really to say to anybody,” she said Saturday.
Christopher Krumm, who had no significant history of encounters with police, had recently driven to Casper from Connecticut and had been staying at a local hotel.
Police were uncertain what went awry in Christopher Krumm’s relationship with his father.
“It’s difficult to say. I don’t think it was very close,” Walsh said.
Meanwhile in Vernon, Conn., police Sgt. Timothy O’Connor said officers executed a search warrant at Christopher Krumm’s last known address Friday to help investigators in Casper. He didn’t know what investigators were looking for or may have found at the residence.
“Whatever was recovered will be turned over to Wyoming because it is an active investigation,” O’Connor said.
Christopher Krumm’s previous addresses include one in the western Massachusetts city of Springfield and others in the Colorado cities of Golden, Fort Collins and Lakewood.
Casper, population 56,000, is about 250 miles northwest of Denver and Wyoming’s second-largest city after the state capital, Cheyenne. Wyomingites refer to Casper as the “Oil City” because it is a hub of the state’s oil industry.