NEW CASTLE — Three children were orphaned in November when their father shot and killed their mother in a public parking lot.
Then, hours later, he shot and killed himself.
To the horror of her co-workers, Mariah Jai Anderson, 22, was gunned down in her car in the Wal-mart lot in Union Township Nov. 17 as she left her work around 11:15 p.m.
Police said her estranged boyfriend, Carlos Montique Harper, 27 of 103 E. Sharp St., had walked up to Anderson’s vehicle and shot her multiple times through the passenger-side window. She died of gunshot wounds to her head and upper body.
Harper, the father of Anderson’s children, ages 4, 3, and 1, took his own life about nine hours later in the Brightwood apartment complex in New Brighton, where he had been in an armed stand-off with police.
Coworkers remembered Anderson, who lived at 701 W. Washington St., with a memorial tree that they decorated outside of the Wal-Mart store, and a candlelight vigil was held in her memory there the Friday night after her death.
Her family members remembers her as “a sweet person, a good mother and loved by everyone who knew her.”
They recounted how Anderson and Harper had a rocky relationship.
Her death has prompted her family and friends to question the effectiveness of Protection From Abuse orders, which she had sought against Harper.
Anderson’s sister, Tirisha Prowell, said she was making plans for a future that did not include Harper.
“When she left him, she was real scared,” Prowell said. “But she said this time, she was done. She said this time there would be no reconciliation. He couldn’t handle it.”
Anderson’s children will be raised by her family members.
Anderson had obtained several PFA orders, “but the police would arrest him, then (the courts) let him go,” her sister said.