Berks County DA and police chief speak out about murder-suicide

S. HEIDELBERG TWP., Pa. | Berks County District Attorney John Adams spoke out on Friday in a news conference about the startling details of the Wernersville Borough murder-suicide that occurred earlier in the week.

The suspect identified as the shooter was Christopher E. Baumener of Wernersville, who police say had killed his girlfriend, Katrina Henderson, and then shot and killed himself.

On Wednesday evening, Chief Leon Grim of the South Heidelberg Township Police stated police had received a 911 call from Baumener, who gave them his name and address, but nothing more.

They say no information on the incident or reason for calling was given before Baumener hung up abruptly.

From this limited information, police were dispatched to the Walnut Street residence, but at the time found no reason to enter; they say no one answered the door, and no suspicious activity was observed by officers from outside.

The chief also stated no reports of gunfire were heard by other neighbors.

Henderson's daughter had reportedly called police as well, stating she was suspicious of her mother not answering her phone calls. Looking for a missing adult, police said they sent a drone to Baumener's home, but say they saw nothing suspicious from the drone footage.

Thursday morning, district police stated that in collaboration with the DA's office, they decided to "ping" Henderson's cell phone, or locate it, which placed her inside of the Baumener's residence. 

The DA and police were issued a warrant to enter Baumener's home later that afternoon, still looking for Henderson as a missing person or a kidnapped person, according to officials at the news conference. Police sent in their drone through the front door of the residence, which discovered the bodies of Baumener and Henderson inside.

The Berks County coroner declared Henderson had died of blunt force trauma to the head, and Baumener had shot himself. The time of death however is still unclear, police say.

Baumener had been arrested previously on assault charges against Henderson. On May 3, police report arresting Baumener after he had beaten his girlfriend to the point of her admitting herself to Reading Hospital.

Police also state that after filing multiple assault-related charges in the previous incident, they had found a gun on his person.

Baumener was reportedly out on bail when the murder-suicide occurred this week.

DA John Adams called this a "tragic domestic violence incident," in the news conference on Friday. He also urged anyone experiencing domestic violence to seek help, and promised to assist police and others in stopping the spread of violence.

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