Jason and Rachel Butler bought some land in Montgomery County, Texas, where they appeared to be set to raise their children and live in happiness. However, authorities say all that changed Sunday night when the couple argued while driving back from Jason’s 20th high school reunion in Houston. That fight led Jason to allegedly shoot his wife before fatally shooting himself, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Police say they received a call shortly after midnight on Sunday morning from 26-year-old Rachel, in which she told them her husband had shot her at their home, according to KHOU-TV. She told authorities that after he shot her, he turned the gun on himself in the driveway.
“They had some type of altercation that was verbal at first but then became physical,” Lt. John Schmitt told the Chronicle. “It continued to the house, and when they got here, there was evidence that there may have been another physical disturbance here.”
Authorities say at some point during the argument, Jason grabbed his handgun from his truck. When police arrived, they found Rachel with a gunshot wound to her chest and Jason with a gunshot wound to his head.
The couple had been married for three years and had two small children, ages 2 and 6. According to KHOU, neighbors said the Butlers only moved into the house a couple of weeks ago. But all was not harmonious with the marriage, as the Chronicle reported the shooting occurred about a month after Rachel had filed for divorce, citing “discord or conflict of personalities.”
Rachel, the owner of a salon, is alive and recovering in intensive care. She was rushed to Conroe Regional Hospital, where she was listed in serious but stable condition, police said. A friend of hers said she’s not expected to need surgery.
Friends and family are wondering how the marriage went off the rails. A friend of Jason’s told the Chronicle he’s at a loss to understand what happened.
“Nothing that I have heard today sounds like my friend — nothing,” said Danny Pechal, who’d known Jason for 20 years.
Just a week before the shooting, Jason celebrated his 39th birthday, and according to a post he made to Facebook, he seemed genuinely happy with his life, according to the Chronicle. He thanked his wife and their “two awesome babies” for a beautiful birthday dinner.
“I just want to sincerely thank each and everyone for the birthday wishes,” Jason wrote. “I am truly a blessed man and by God’s grace have people who touch me in such a way[.] I can only thank him for leading me down whatever path he wants me to go on.”
The children were reportedly at Rachel’s sister’s house at the time of the incident, so they did not witness it.