Eustis cop lurked before killing 3: He went after his wife, who wanted a divorce, police say.
Orlando Sun Sentinel
Sarah Lundy and Stephen Hudak
February 7 2006
[Excerpts] Kimberly Mount's marriage to police Cpl. Michael Mount had come apart in just six months, largely because of his fits of jealousy. So last week, authorities said, she told her husband she wanted a divorce and that he had to move out. Afraid her husband would hurt her, she took her two children to spend Saturday night at the home of another Eustis cop, Jose "Joe" Gomez, and his wife, Serena. By daybreak Sunday, they were all dead -- shot in the head by Mount, who then used his department-issued handgun to kill himself... The shootings came at the end of a week when Mike Mount told his wife he didn't want to live, tried to resign his $41,099 job, picked up an application from the Citrus County Sheriff's Office and accused his friend, Joe Gomez, of having a "relationship" with his wife... Mike Mount, 34, parked his black Chevrolet pickup several hundred feet down the road from Gomez's home sometime early Sunday... Investigators now think Mount was lurking outside the house... About 6 a.m., Mount forced his way in through the front door... "We were aware of the marital problems, and we tried to be supportive of both," Cobb said. He added that Kim Mount "never described to us any incidents of violence." Cobb described Mike Mount as a jealous man. Before he earned a recent promotion to corporal, the chief advised Mount that he needed to get control of his jealousy. "He always questioned her commitment to the marriage," Cobb said. Last week, Mount had a run-in with Gomez in the Police Department parking lot. Mount accused Gomez of having a relationship with his wife, Cobb said... Gomez told the chief about the conversation later. Also earlier in the week, Kim Mount spoke to Cobb about her husband, the chief said. She told him that the couple had discussed their relationship during the weekend and Mike Mount had said he loved her and wanted to work through their difficulties. At one point, Mike Mount told his wife that "maybe I would be better off if I wasn't alive," Cobb recalled Kim Mount telling him. Cobb said Mike Mount could be "emotional" and the comment wasn't cause for immediate alarm but police officials were keeping an eye on whether he needed counseling. At one point, Mike Mount told supervisors that maybe he should resign and work at a different agency than his wife did. Cobb said officials told him he didn't have to resign and that the department would support the couple... [Full article here]
Chief Cobb: "There is nothing we could have done as an agency to foresee that Michael was capable of such a heinous crime."
Cops have duty to protect and serve their own: Police couldn't have predicted Sunday's deaths, but they must do a better job of addressing instability among its officers.
Orlando Sentenel Crime Blog
Published February 7, 2006
[Excerpts] ...And now, there is Eustis police Officer Mike Mount. After six months of marriage, the 34-year-old corporal is believed to have shot and killed his wife Kim, a clerk at the department, along with fellow officer Joe Gomez and his wife, Serena, on Sunday. A half-dozen children will grow up without their moms or dads. Oh, God. Why? Why do people solve temporary problems with permanent solutions?...And there's no point in lamenting that Mount was a police officer, as if he should have known better. Lake Sheriff Chris Daniels insightfully remarked Sunday that police are hired "from the human race. Everything that exists in the average population exists with law enforcement." The difference, however, is that society hands police officers a public trust -- along with a gun. While those who hire can't see the future, they have an obligation to act decisively when instability arises. Mike Mount threw out hints in the days before his world unraveled. He confronted Joe Gomez in the department parking lot and accused him of having an affair with Kim. He said he wanted to die. He tried to resign from the Police Department but was told to take the weekend off and get his emotions settled. The argument with Gomez should have triggered action by the department, especially because officials knew of Mount's tendency to be unreasonably jealous and once had cautioned him about the consequences... The sort of brotherhood police officers share often works for the good... But that same bond can mask trouble, as it did in this case... Hints of turmoil were swept aside... What happened with Mount should nag at police chiefs and sheriffs everywhere... they have to remember that the enemy sometimes comes from within... [Full article here]
Why Did FL Cop Kill Wife, Others?
[Excerpts] ...Afraid her husband would hurt her, she took her two children to spend Saturday night at the home of another Eustis cop, Jose "Joe" Gomez, and his wife, Serena. By daybreak Sunday, they were all dead -- shot in the head by Mount, who then used his department-issued handgun to kill himself, authorities said. "They brought the girlfriend over who broke up with her husband today, and he's a cop," Serena's mother, Debra James, cried frantically to a 911 operator after she fled the home with her grandson shortly after 6 a.m. "I think he broke in and shot everybody"...
Tragic endings: Our position: Police don't get enough help in dealing with the stress of their job.
February 10, 2006
[Excerpts] ...Within the past five months, there have been two high-profile murder-suicides by officers in Central Florida. On Sunday a Eustis officer killed himself, his estranged wife, a fellow officer and his wife. In October, an Orange County deputy killed himself and his two children. They weren't the only casualties. During the past year at least five other Central Florida officers killed themselves. Throughout the nation, hundreds of officers commit suicide every year...
Gomez funerals today
February 10, 2006
[Excerpts] A joint funeral service for Joe and Serena Gomez will take place at 1 p.m. today at Calvary Chapel, 2401 W. Cypress Creek Road in Fort Lauderdale... The Gomez couple moved to Lake County last year from Palm Beach County, where he worked as an Ocean Ridge police officer and she worked as a deputy town clerk. A Web site -- serena- and-joe-gomez.memory-of .com -- is dedicated to their memory...
Law enforcement mourns slain clerk: Service in Eustis avoids mention of husband
February 10 2006
[Excerpts] A crowd watched as six city police officers carried a white casket containing one of their own from First Baptist Church of Eustis toward a waiting black hearse. Walter Wolf, a Lake County deputy sheriff and former Florida Highway Patrol lieutenant, stepped behind them, placing his hand on top of the casket as if guiding it safely into the car. Wolf stood not as a cop but as a father mourning the loss of his daughter, Kimberly Mount, 35, Eustis police administrative clerk...
400 Mourn cop, wife: Joe and Serena Gomez were killed in their home by a Eustis officer.
February 11, 2006
[Excerpts] The 7-year-old daughter of slain Eustis police Officer Joe Gomez brought a chapel full of burly law officers to tears Friday with a brave little speech. "I loved my dad," Brianna, nearly hidden by the podium, said in a tiny voice. "God bless him."...
Eustis officer who killed 3 is buried: Friends and family pray for mercy at Michael Mount's service in Inverness.
February 15, 2006
[Excerpts] ...[Eustis Police Officer Michael] Mount, too, was dressed as a civilian. Eustis police Chief Fred Cobb refused to let Mount's family bury him in uniform or with his badge... More than 200 officers in dress uniform honored the Gomezes at a Friday ceremony in Fort Lauderdale that featured a police processional and gun salute, but Mount received no official recognition for his work in law enforcement. The funeral program identified him as "Mr. Michael R. Mount"... Mount's 4-year-old daughter, Madison, who lived with him and Kim Mount, who was buried last week, clung to relatives as the service ended. She clutched a red carnation plucked from a bouquet. "Daddy," she cried over and over. "I want my daddy."
Horrific crime haunts mother: She was in the house when a distraught Eustis cop killed her daughter and 2 others.
March 16, 2006
[Excerpts] Two gun blasts shook Debra James out of bed before dawn. At the other end of the house, Eustis police Cpl. Michael Mount had just shot her son-in-law and fellow Eustis Officer Joe Gomez, 34, in the head... Hiding between the side of the bed and the wall, James heard three more shots. Mount, 34, had burst into the master bedroom where he gunned down his wife, Kim, 35, and James' only daughter, Serena Gomez... "Every time I go to sleep I relive that day," said James, who spoke publicly for the first time this week about the triple murder and suicide Feb. 5. "I'm in hell, and I haven't come out"... James, 48, replays those moments in her mind, struggling to understand what happened that Sunday... Two days after the shootings, officials spoke to Justin. "Mike makes me very mad," the boy told investigators. "Mike was the one who snuck into my house and shot my mom and dad"... [Debra] James doesn't know whether she will ever be able to forgive. "She was my only child, my best friend and you can't replace that," she said. James wants to donate the furniture in the Eustis house to a domestic violence shelter. "I don't want to ever come back here," James said, standing outside the house. The mother also hopes Eustis police officials learn from this tragedy. She said the city's police chief knew Mount was a jealous husband who had wrongly accused Joe Gomez of having an affair with Kim Mount. She said he knew Mount was struggling with the end of his marriage. James said Chief Fred Cobb should have taken away Mount's service weapon. "I don't want another family to go through what I'm going through," she said. Cobb said this week he agrees with James that the tragedy is a reminder that police need to be aware of what is going on in employees' lives. But the chief said there was no evidence that Mount was going to react so violently. He said Joe Gomez didn't consider Mount a threat... For now, James takes comfort in small reminders of Serena: A T-shirt with her daughter's smell. High-school yearbooks with pictures of happier times. A small family keepsake that James' mother gave her and that she passed on to Serena when she became pregnant with Justin. James carries the glass memento everywhere. It reads: "It takes a little time to make a miracle. Congratulations"...[Full article here]
Lawsuit: Slain wife put others at risk: The mother of another of Cpl. Michael Mount's victims seeks damages in a wrongful-death suit.
Posted July 25, 2006
[Excerpts] The mother of a woman gunned down by Eustis police Cpl. Michael Mount in a triple-murder-suicide early this year wants money from the estates of the officer and his wife, who, according to a lawsuit, created "a zone of risk" that led to the killings... The wrongful-death lawsuit, filed last week in Circuit Court in Tavares, seeks compensation for mental anguish for Serena Gomez's mother, Debra James, and the Gomezes' son... The lawsuit says Kimberly Wolf Mount knew her husband "was a jealous and violent man who in the past had reacted violently toward her and others"... "There was never any indication of prior violence," said Sgt. Christie Mysinger. But the lawsuit suggests Kimberly Wolf Mount knew her husband had violent tendencies and should have known she would place the Gomez family in danger if she left him and stayed at their home... It also says Kimberly Wolf Mount had a duty to the Gomez family to "lessen the risk or see that sufficient precautions were taken to protect them," but she failed to do so... Michael Mount's mother, Bonnie Hoover, who oversees his estate, could not be reached by phone for comment. Kim Mount's father, Walter Wolf, declined to discuss the lawsuit...
Slain officer performed his true 'duty'
The Orlando Sentinel (FL)
May 27, 2007
[Excerpts] Eustis police Officer Joe Gomez wasn't technically on duty that day in February 2006 when fellow officer Mike Mount barged into Gomez's laundry room from the garage. In fact, Gomez was in his skivvies when Mount raised his police pistol and put a bullet in his friend's head... What Gomez did isn't easily defined - the dynamics of friendship and duty were intertwined in his decision to shelter Kim Mount. Initially, the Hartford Insurance Co. refused to pay the couple's orphaned son a higher, "on-duty" death benefit. Instead, the company paid $53,999.14. But then Lake lawyer Bob Austin, an insurance expert, investigated and submitted a review that changed Hartford's corporate mind. The company cut a check for an additional $215,996.56 because Gomez's actions were "in the furtherance and scope of his employment as a police officer," according to papers filed in Lake Circuit Court. It's time that Lake County recognize Gomez, too... But the decision lies with Fred Cobb, head of public safety in Eustis. Initially, Cobb was told that Gomez didn't meet the criteria to receive line-of-duty benefits or have his named inscribed on a national wall. And Cobb isn't convinced Gomez died in the line of duty... Perhaps Cobb will rethink his position... Regardless of whether Gomez underestimated how truly disturbed his friend was, the officer stepped forward to keep another human being safe. He did what he thought would protect a woman who had been threatened. He did the right thing. And after all, that's what being a cop is all about.
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