Murder-suicide assailant may have had drug problem |

Murder-suicide assailant may have had drug problem

Maggie O'Neill

CARSON CITY – A day after his ex-wife was shot and killed by ex-boyfriend Chris Rasmussen, Kim Hachenberger was left with the heartbreaking task of telling his two daughters.

He told his oldest daughter, 10, first.

“The first one handled it the way I expected her to,” he said. “She was very angry toward him. The two children are going to handle this differently.”

Their 6-year-old daughter was en route from California back to Kim’s Mound House home on Thursday.

“She called her mother five times yesterday thinking something was wrong,” said Kim, 49. “She left a message on my machine at the office. She was reaching out and we had not given her any information yet.”

Friends and family of both Rasmussen, 48, and Shelly Hachenberger, 40, a state prison worker, were struggling to determine what led him to murder Shelly then turn the gun on himself.

Shelly’s father, Dave Churchey, speculates it could have been drugs.

“This is a prime example of what meth and alcohol can do,” he said. “Take a good person and turn him bad.”

Toxicology reports could take weeks or months to return, and Sgt. Bob White, a detective on the case, said he didn’t know whether Rasmussen was on methamphetamine.

Churchey said Shelly, an administrative aide for the Nevada Department of Corrections, never told him that she was in fear for her life, but did say that verbal and physical violence occurred.

Chris’ mother, Mary Rasmussen, said her son, who retired from the department of corrections in 2000 as a firearms instructor, had changed lately.

She said he was quieter and appeared embarrassed by his July 11 arrest for violating a no-stalking order Shelly had filed, alleging that he had called her home more than 80 times within a week and “has been known to use crystal methamphetamine.”

“So many times the sadness of the other family is completely forgotten,” Mary Rasmussen said.

She read from a note found in a book at his Carson City home.

“I love you guys and had a great life,” she read. “I just can’t handle any more of the (bull). Please spread my ashes over Pyramid Lake and if you guys want, have a party. If you need to sell the place, do so.”

Shelly’s two children were not with her Wednesday morning when Rasmussen arrived about 7 a.m. at her 2076 Hawaii Circle duplex.

Neighbors reported being awakened by hearing shots fired.

According to the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, Rasmussen fired his way through the front door with a semi-automatic weapon, entered the master bedroom, shot Shelly multiple times and then himself in the head. The SWAT team found both dead in the bedroom.

When police arrived at the residence, they spent two hours trying to make contact inside and leaving between 35 to 40 messages, according to White.

He said police never made contact with Shelly or with Rasmussen, 48.

“There was no conversation between him and the police or between him and the sheriff’s department or between him and the SWAT team,” White said. “There was no conversation between him and the negotiations team. Based on the evidence on scene, he shot himself right after he shot her.”

A negotiations team was present as part of standoff tactics.

Rasmussen was arrested July 11 for violating the no-stalking order Shelly had filed on June 29. He allegedly chased her down Edmonds Street on his motorcycle.

On Monday, she reported that he called her boss to ask whom she was dating.

Shelly’s former husband believes her decision to end the relationship with Rasmussen was not going well. He said that he and Shelly may have been on their way to reconciling. The four of them went to Virginia City together to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July.

“We felt like a family,” he said.

Memorial services are pending.

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