A tragic and bizarre story has unfolded in East Dallas, Texas, where Harriet Deison, a pastor’s wife, was found dead after shooting herself inside of her vehicle over the weekend. The 65-year-old woman purportedly bought a pistol at a local gun shop just before using the weapon to take her own life in the store’s parking lot.
Authorities contend that Deison killed herself with the gun after purchasing it at the McClelland Gun Shop, a Texas firearms supplier; the incident unfolded around 2:15 p.m. on Saturday. The death leaves police with few answers, as the GA Daily News reports that a suicide note was not left at the scene.
According to the Daily Mail, Deison was married to Pete Deison, a pastor at Park Cities Presbyterian Church. The mother and grandmother also ran Minwood One Corp., a business that the outlet describes as “an administrative and services support company.”
In an op-ed published on Chattanoogan.com, Roy Exum, a friend of the Deison family, described the pastor’s wife as “beautiful.” Exum’s praise of the family showcases just how beloved Deison was in the community:
The reason I tell this story is because my extended family loved the Deison family very much. For years we worshipped with them, we dined with them, we laughed with them and, yes, we have cried with them when sometimes life seemed to go awry. What great Christians! What fabulous Children of God!
For literally decades Harriet and Pete propped us up, assuring us that by God’s grace a New Dawn was coming – as unstoppable as the New Year itself – and that if only we would place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ things would take a better turn. So help me, that promise has never failed me. (Oh, sometimes God doesn’t show up the moment you call Him but, brother, He’s always right on time!)
Further, as Pete has dedicated his entire life to the counsel and comfort of fellow strugglers, quite often he called on Harriet for her tender help, to which she always responded in such a loving and gentle way that neither anguish or incident stood a chance. Now this … oh my goodness, now this.
Considering that no note was left at the scene — and taking into account Deison’s role in the community — many questions remain. Some are asking whether the weapon accidentally went off in the car. Others are delving into questions surrounding Texas’ gun laws and whether a longer waiting period might have saved the woman’s life.
As for this latter point, the process of receiving a gun, background check included, only takes about 20 minutes. After going through the rather quick acquisition process, customers like Deison can simply walk out of the store, firearm in hand.
Considering that the pastor’s wife took her life in the McClelland Gun Shop parking lot right after purchasing a gun, it’s likely that criticism of this process will abound. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives plans to investigate whether the shop followed protocol in selling the weapon to Deison.
(H/T: Daily Mail)