Neighbors share thoughts on Kennewick murder-suicide

“They're very nice people but obviously troubled,” said neighbor John Smith.

Feelings of sadness all around the Canyon Lakes community in Kennewick Thursday after a tragic murder suicide Wednesday afternoon leaving two Pasco School District teachers dead.

Laura Cole was a special education teacher at Whittier Elementary. Dustin Altshuler taught a computer class on working with robotics. Neighbors said they had reservations about the couple, but they say they never expected it to end like this.

“They're very nice people but obviously troubled,” said neighbor John Smith. “We welcomed them to the neighborhood and didn't see a lot of them after that.”

He says they seemed like a very nice couple at first. But then...

“(We) noticed some things going on a year ago with Dustin and (I) tried to reach out to him,” Smith said. “It then materialized and we never thought this would ever happen.”

Police arrested Dustin Altshuler on Saturday for allegedly groping a cab driver. The Pasco School District placed Dustin on administrative leave.

On Wednesday, a concerned family member called Kennewick Police asking to check on the Pasco educator.

“Officers went to the house. All the doors were locked. They looked in the windows and couldn’t see anything. Nothing exigent that would allow our officers to breech the doorway and check on something. So they left,” Sgt. Aaron Clem with Kennewick Police said.

Dustin's family members stopped by later and found him dead. Police came back to the house and found the bodies of both Dustin and his girlfriend, Laura Cole.

Police say Dustin shot Laura before turning the gun on himself.

“(It’s an) ongoing investigation, so we don't know if we'll find something in their history or something that led to this but with both of them deceased who knows what we're going to find,” Sgt. Clem said.

Neighbors say Dustin also had children he is leaving behind.

“Things happen in life that you never expect,” said Smith.

Pasco Schools released a statement Thursday morning. They say they are saddened to learn of Dustin and Laura’s deaths, and they say there will be counselors at Whittier Elementary and Pasco High School to support students and staff members during this time.

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