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Chattanooga police investigate a crime at 3040 Stage Run Drive.

No one could say on Monday what drove 44-year-old Marcus Slattery to shoot and kill his girlfriend, their English bulldog and himself late last week.

But Chattanooga police are calling the deaths at 3040 Stage Run Drive an apparent murder-suicide. Slattery and his girlfriend, 58-year-old Deborah Steele, were found dead inside their home around 4 p.m. Friday after a third party called and asked for a well-being check on the couple.

Both Slattery and Steele were registered nurses, according to state records. Steele was licensed in 1983 and Slattery was licensed in 1992.

Slattery formerly worked as a nurse in the crisis stabilization unit at Volunteer Behavioral Health on Chattanooga's North Shore. The unit is designed to provide care to patients who are experiencing a severe mental health crisis, according to Volunteer's website.

Slattery held that job for six years and left in 2009, according to Volunteer.


On Monday, neighbors said the couple had shared their home, which sits on a quiet roundabout in an upscale subdivision in Hixson, for several years. They described the couple as private people who didn't socialize much with the neighborhood.

"I've lived here for eight years, and I've never even seen the woman," said neighbor Bruce Easterwood.

They'd wave if you did, another neighbor said, but that was about it. Sometimes neighbors saw Slattery working in his garage. Steele has owned the house since 2000, according to county property records.

Easterwood said Friday's violence surprised the neighborhood.

"Nothing like this has ever happened before," he said. "It's shocked everybody that I've talked to. This is just a peaceful, kid-friendly neighborhood."

Records checked back to January 2014 show officers had not been called to the house until Friday, when they responded for the well-being check, according to police.

Investigators declined to say who called in the request or what type of weapon was used in the assault.

This is the second incident in the last three weeks in which a man attacked a woman and then shot himself. Jeffery Held, 38, shot his wife, 24-year-old Holly Anderson, twice in the legs with a shotgun outside a Collegedale shopping center on May 23. He then shot and killed himself.

Anderson survived the attack. The two were in the middle of a divorce, according to Collegedale police.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or with tips or story ideas.